Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Economics of the 10 Commandments (Part 3)

The Economics of the 10 Commandments (Part 3)

The 3rd Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work (Ex 20.8-10; Deut 5.12-15, NAB). The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; so the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath (Mk 2.27-28, NAB).

By setting aside one day a week to honor God we remind ourselves of values beyond our day-to-day existence. From those values we find wellsprings of honesty and restraint that keep us from putting material things above decent behavior. It also shows that we are not slaves to work; rather work (like exercise or food) is our servant and is meant to provide for our needs.

Some of us have jobs that require us to work on Sunday, which for most of us is the traditional Christian Sabbath day. Does that mean that we cannot live a good life without stopping our work on the Sabbath? Of course not, remember that the Rabbi, Priest, or Minister works on the Sabbath!  Nurses, Doctors, Firefighters, Policemen and many others must work on the Sabbath day too.  The key element is to remember to put God before worldly demands and ourselves. Doing this simple sounding exercise will help us to keep the worlds demands in perspective and guide our actions with honesty and fairness. These are an outward expression of the principles in our hearts.

In most Judeo-Christian faith traditions, one day a week is set aside to rest and honor God. It’s the one day a week we all should refrain from business, work or any activities that hinder our worship of God, works of mercy, and our mental and physical relaxation. The Sabbath should also be a day we spend nurturing our relationships with our families and loved ones. Like sleep deprivation, over the long run you’ll become burned-out and less productive if you don’t set aside one day a week—the Sabbath—to recharge your physical, spiritual and emotional batteries.

Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A restaurants, wanted to ensure that every employee and operator of his restaurants had an opportunity to worship, spend time with family and friends as well as rest from the work week; so he mandated that all Chick-fil-A restaurants be closed on Sundays. Closing all Chick-fil-A restaurants every Sunday makes the company a rarity in this day and age of corporate greed, but it's a little habit that has served the owners, managers, and employees of Chick-fil-A for over 50 years.
When Allen and I served in the military, we really came to appreciate our Sundays off (or half day off if we had duty).  Even the U.S. Government has realized that you can't work your people to death.  Solders, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are more effective if they're given at least one day off to rest, relax, and recharge. 
In addition to honoring God on the Sabbath day, we should also try to set aside some time each day to remember God and keep him foremost in our thoughts. In that way, we will keep his precepts for living and it will help us overcome the temptation to take those shortcuts that lead to dishonesty, unethical behavior, and immorality.

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