Have you ever stopped to really consider why God forbade the Jews to work on the Sabbath? You might think it to be some sort of a punishment – an act of penance that was just a part of their ritualistic religion. However, I think it was for just the opposite reason. I don’t think that this command was intended to associate the seventh day with a dead ritual. Rather, I believe that it was designed to connect the Sabbath with the brightness of God’s presence and the rest of His pleasure. That’s why the Lord said that they were to “bear no burden on the Sabbath day.” This command wasn’t meant to be a punishment. It was intended to be a privilege – a sort of sacred holiday for His special people.
That’s why the Jew saw the Sabbath as a day with no burden, because it was a day to be spent with God. He considered it to be a day in which his spirit worshipped, his mind soared and his body rested. He connected its purpose with blessing and bound it to his heart with a golden thread. In essence he said, “Sabbath is to be a happy, joyful day – a day with no burden. It is to be a day in which we are liberated from work, emancipated from anxiety and released from care. It is a day in which gloom is to be erased, and joy is to be found. On this day the birds sing, the streams bubble, and the sunbeams bounce off of cottony clouds. Let everyone see time spent in the presence of God as a time of joyful freedom, and the unloading of care – like a schoolboy released for the summer. Let them receive the presence of God as a child receives a new toy.”
As Christians we should never see our service to, and time spent with, God on Sunday as some sort of a burden. In fact, we have never fully served the Lord until the burden has been removed and buried in the deepest part of the sea. You see, as long as Martha is encumbered with the burden of her chores she has yet to really work. My soul is nothing like a great ship or plane because it goes the farthest and fastest when it isn’t even trying. I am never so active as I am when I am at rest in Him. If I am to serve Him fully, then my heart must be captured by Him, for it is when He captures my heart, then am I most free.
Some today talk about Sunday as if it were a day burdened with religious responsibilities. These are not the expressions of a heart that has been captivated by His love. Does a robin regret getting to sing its song? Does a little boy think that his father will be angry if he begs to spend time with him? Does the sun wear itself out by shining? No, because that is when it is in its most natural element, doing what it was created to do.
I don’t see Sunday as a burden, it is a great privilege, for this is the day my Father has set aside for me to spend in my most natural element – His presence – doing what I was created to do – resting in and worshipping Him. Why wouldn’t my heart sing and my soul soar on Sunday? That’s why when your responsibility has been merged with love, the law has dissolved into privilege, and service has become the greatest kind of freedom, that you will feel the burden fall from the Sabbath day.