This is the first prize winner of the Beacon Lights writing contest in the high school and younger category.
Sarah plopped into her favorite easy chair and closed her eyes. What a wonderful feeling just to lay back and relax! It was this great carefree feeling that she looked forward to each Sunday. Just a chance to ease off and catch her breath. “Wasn’t it great of God to give us this day?” she thought.
Down the hall her parents were taking their traditional Sunday nap. Her younger brother John (14), and sister Rachel (6) were also in their bedrooms dozing. The whole house was quiet.
Quietness always nudged Sarah’s mind into the thinking zone, usually thinking about all the ups or downs of the past week. Today, however, her mind was on the sermon that morning. It just refused to leave her mind. It had been on observing the Sabbath day. Sarah had always been quite sure that this was one of the commandments that she always kept. She never worked on Sunday. But the minister’s sermon made her feel as if she were doing something wrong. He had said that resting on Sundays does not mean we are just to relax and do nothing. He said we should be busy with spiritual activities, such as reading the Bible, studying scriptures, or praying. “Surely he can’t mean a nap on Sunday is wrong!” Sarah thought indignantly. “What may we do on Sundays?”
Determined to define her boundaries, Sarah prayed a quiet prayer. “Lord, teach me Thy purpose with regards to this day,” she prayed. “Help me to do Thy will and not my selfish own.”
Quietly, so as not to waken her family, Sarah slipped on a pair of sandals and crossed the road to her Uncle Lee and Aunt Pat’s house. She knew Uncle Lee would be awake.
As if he’d been expecting her, the door opened on the first knock. He greeted her with a warm smile. “Hello Sarah. Nice to see you. Won’t you come inside?”
“Good ol’ Uncle Lee, always there when I need him,” thought Sarah, slipping out of her sandals and heading towards the living room.
“So what has prompted this surprise?” Uncle Lee inquired.
“Actually, I need to talk,” Sarah confessed. “I would like to discuss the sermon this morning. I’m not sure I fully understood it.”
“Glad to talk,” Uncle Lee responded, “Where would you like to begin?”
“Well,” Sarah began, “I guess I just want to know what Sunday is all about. If it’s not meant to be a day of rest and relaxation, what is it? Doesn’t the Bible say that Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest?”
“Sarah, Sunday is a day of rest. We know that is what the Bible says. What you need to understand is what the Bible means by ‘rest’. The Bible is not referring to physical rest, but spiritual rest. As Christians we try very hard to walk in God’s ways throughout the week, but it takes much energy. It is like a runner who runs many miles. He may start out with much energy but he can’t go on forever. He needs to stop and take a rest. After a thorough rest with some water or food he will be able to run some more.
“Christians are the same way. We need Sundays. That’s why God gave them to us. We can fight about what is legitimate or not legitimate to do on Sunday, but we are missing the point! Sunday is our day to become spiritually refreshed and ready to face another week. During the week we have so many things to worry about. We are so busy with our jobs, food, clothing, or friends that it becomes hard to keep God always before us. We need Sundays to draw closer to God. In drawing closer to God we realize our purpose here in life. Realizing our purpose, we become calm and trust God to take care of our troubles here below. Without Sundays we would soon lose sight of the big picture and would soon become more concerned about the here and the now.”
There was a pause as Uncle Lee allowed these words to sink in. As if on cue, Aunt Pat appeared with a tray of milk and cookies. “Help yourself’ she said, pulling up a chair. For a few minutes there was silence as all three, lost in thought, munched on Oreos.
Finally Sarah spoke. “You know, I’ve really been wasting my Sundays by just sitting around, haven’t I? Maybe that is why you always seem to be so much closer to God—because you spend so much more time with Him.”
“There is more to it than just how you spend Sundays,” Uncle Lee replied thoughtfully. “It’s a lifestyle. When God works in one’s heart, causing him to realize that in spite of his great sin God chose him to be His own child, paying for his sin by the death of His own son… Well, it causes you to want to do everything for Him. Not only are Sundays spent with Him, becoming spiritually refreshed for a new week, but throughout the week as well we seek to please Him all the time. We spend time with Him in the morning and at meal times. Personal devotions are also very important.”
“So it’s like this,” Sarah said, “During the week it’s like we are running a race. To keep us going spiritually strong we need to spend time in devotions with God. Sundays are our refreshment breaks where we spend the whole day being spiritually built up, by going to church and studying the Bible, etc. This way we become spiritually energetic, ready to face a new week, or run a new race.”
“Exactly!” exclaimed Uncle Lee with a broad smile. “Or another way you could look at it is like this: We are soldiers. During the week we have to fight in a battle. On Sunday we prepare our weapons and ammunition, making sure we are totally prepared for the battle ahead. Daily devotions are just little stops or rests long the way.”
“What about when we are on vacations?” Sarah asked anxiously. “We are going to be in Florida next weekend. I’ve been looking forward to it all year. Is it okay to go to the beach just one Sunday of the year?”
“Let me ask you a question, Sarah, and let you answer your own question. Remembering Sunday is just one of God’s commandments. Another is not to commit adultery. How will you feel if you marry a man who claims to love you heart and soul for fifty-one weeks a year but then says, ‘Honey, the fifty-second week I’d like for myself. You are satisfied with fifty-one faithful weeks, aren’t you?”’
Sarah laughed. “It’s obvious that no wife would accept such an arrangement! Either a husband loves his wife all the time or he is an unfaithful louse!
“And… I guess that’s the point with Sunday, too, right? If we truly love God we want to be with HIM, our spiritual husband, as much as possible. If on ANY Sunday we are separated from Him and His family, we should feel terrible on that Sunday. So it should never be a CHOICE to be away from His church on Sunday.”
“Well said, Sarah! Let me add this, that being in church is the starting point of all Sunday observance. That is where Jesus Christ promises to feed us. He speaks to us through His ministers. If we have devotions all day long but skip church—unless necessary—we are not loving and obeying our Husband. Nor can we expect His blessing on that lifestyle.”
“I guess that means that I’ll have to give up my vacation to Florida,” said Sarah sadly. “But,” she added, her countenance brightening, “it’ll definitely be worth it.”
“Maybe you should talk to your folks, Sarah. They might make arrangements to be back by Sunday. But if not, you’ll know you’ve done the right thing, and God will certainly be with you and bless you.”
“Okay. Thanks so much, Uncle Lee, for your help! I now clearly see the purpose of Sundays. I can hardly wait to get home and share this with my family!”
“Glad to be able to help, Sarah. Just remember one thing before you go. Remember that one hour spent with God is far more valuable than a lifetime spent without Him” ❖