Chicken Nuggets and the Sabbath
It was Sunday, after church, and our family was grabbing a bite to eat at a local Mexican restaurant. We were sitting outside, trying to enjoy the sunshine, but Chick-fil-a was looming large right in front of us—literally across the street.
“Mom, I really, really, really want Chick-fil-a!” (Can you hear the high-pitched whining?)
“I love Chick-fil-a. Why can’t we go there?!” (Can you hear it yet? Add to your mental image: crossed arms, bottom lips stuck out.)
“Chick-fil-a is closed on Sundays,” I pronounced. “So just eat your quesadilla and stop whining, okay?”
“But why, Mom? Why are they closed?”
A store being closed one day a week is incomprehensible to my kids, especially when every other store and restaurant in our city seems to be open and bustling with business. It’s bold and countercultural of them to stand by their closed-on-Sundays commitment, though Chick-fil-a founder Truett Cathy says this policy is the best business decision he ever made. It’s a profound way for the company to honor their employees, allowing their workers a sacred day “for family, worship, fellowship, or rest.” Chick-fil-a’s darkened restaurant windows stand out and proclaim: Today something else is more important than commerce.
The reality is that many of us don’t take the fourth commandment seriously; compared to the way we seek to keep the other nine commandments, you’d think the fourth was written with an asterisk next to it! (As in, *Don’t worry, you don’t really need to follow this one.—God.)
Author and theologian Dorothy Bass writes about her own similar sense of conviction as she began to realize, “Our approach to the Sabbath commandment was different [from our approach to the other commandments]. We had become so captivated by our work, so impressed by its demands on us and by our own sense of indispensability, that it had vanished from our consciousness.”
My own vanishing sense of Sabbath began with good reason. Having observed many stuffy, rule-keeping Christians who turned Sundays into a day of zero fun and church overload, I bristled at their rigid legalism. We don’t worship a stuffy God of rules and “no’s,” after all, but a God of love and grace! So I consciously rejected the Sabbath-keeping habits of the legalists. But unfortunately for me, and perhaps for you too, the Sabbath-baby has gotten thrown out with the legalistic bathwater!
So what are we to do with the Sabbath? How can our lives stand out and proclaim: Today something else is more important than commerce, busyness, my to-do list, or my kids’ extracurricular activities? And how can a proper understanding of Sabbath rest infiltrate and influence the way we live and work throughout the rest of the week?You can explore these issues and many more in a special Kyria e-book, which includes:
• Insights on meaningful Sabbath habits and how to practice those habits in an attitude of grace.
• Suggestions for how you and your family can more deeply connect with God during your day of rest.
• Considerations on how you live the rest of the week—how the all too common breakneck pace of multitasking can actually do spiritual damage.
How do you practice the Sabbath? How have you learned to rearrange your priorities to follow this commandment better? And if you haven’t, what’s keeping you from doing it?