Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Keeping the Sabbath - Giving God Our Time - What We Should be Most Thankful For

It is Thanksgiving week, the time when we give thanks to God for everything He has done for us in our lives, and especially everything He has done for us over the past year. I wonder if anyone would like to share some of the things that they’re thankful to God for this year? It could be anything. What are you thankful for?
Yeah, there are all kinds of things for us to be thankful for. That doesn’t mean that bad things haven’t happened this year, right? Some of us have lost loved ones. Some of us have lost jobs or we’re dealing with not having enough money to pay the bills. Some of us have gotten in fights with family members or friends. Or maybe we’ve had a loved one who has been sick or dealing with health issues. We all deal with bad things throughout the year as well as good and God certainly doesn’t expect us to be thankful for everything that happens to us. He knows that this world is not perfect. This world is not what He intended it to be.
But no matter what our year has been like and no matter what other things we are thankful for, there is always one thing that we can and should be most thankful for. I want you to watch this video and then tell me what you think it is.
Avoiding God video
What should we be most thankful for? God! Think about this with me. God, who is bigger than all of us, who created everything, who needs nothing, that God wants nothing more than to hang out with you, to be friends with you, to be in a relationship with you. How awesome is that? And no matter what we go through, He’s right there with us. We couldn’t get rid of Him if we tried! He’s right, God is right there, always ready to hear our prayers, always ready to be there for us or to hold our hand or to carry us through whatever problems we face. The God of the Universe is there for us and all He wants is to spend time with us.
And in fact, when we talk about spending time with God, God has given us a standard to go by. In the Old Testament, one of the Ten Commandments, says,
Exodus 20:8-11 – “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
Leviticus 23:3– “There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD.”
God basically said, “I gave you the whole week, I gave you life. I simply want you to acknowledge that by giving Me one day a week. You do what you need to do the rest of the week, I get one day from you.” That doesn’t sound unfair, does it? God gives us the whole week, our very lives, in exchange for one day out of seven.
God even gives us a promise of blessings if we will observe the Sabbath.
Isaiah 58:13-14 - “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
And so we have continued to keep the Sabbath. Every Sunday, or most every Sunday, we come to church.
But the thing is that an hour church service, one hour a week, one day a week doesn’t count as a Sabbath. The Sabbath is supposed to be a whole day, not just an hour on Sunday morning. So how can we give God a whole day, a whole Sabbath, instead of just one hour on Sunday morning?
Well, the first thing to understand is that we don’t have to give God our whole day on Sunday. The point is that God wants you to give Him the equivalent of one day, one working day, throughout your week. So you could go to church one day and there’s an hour’s worth, you could read your Bible for a few minutes on the other days, volunteer for a couple of hours at the church or for another Christian ministry on another day, listen to some Christian radio or read a Christian book other than the Bible, pray for a few minutes throughout your day or as you get ready for bed in the evening, and that could all add up to one working day every week that you’re giving to God. All of those things put together can be your Sabbath. Does that make sense? The equivalent of one working day per week. Spending time with God, giving God your time.
But we don’t give God our time because He gave us the Ten Commandments and the Law of the Sabbath. We give God our time because we are thankful to Him for being such a good God that He wants to spend time with us.
Some of you might be thinking that it’s easy to give God a Sabbath day of your time every week. Others of you are probably trying to think how you could possibly find the time to do that. You don’t even have the time to do the things that you want to do during the week.
I want to show you one more video.
“Life is Temporary” video
Life is temporary. I don’t normally play video games, but I found one this past week that I’ve been playing on the computer and it is seriously addicting. I was up until 4am Friday night, playing this thing. And then I lost! And yes, I was having fun. And It’s okay to have your fun time, but afterward, I thought, wow! What a waste of time.
You can probably think of some things like that in your own life. For a lot of us it’s watching tv. Yeah, it’s fun, but ultimately, when you get down to it, it’s just a waste of time.
The thing is that our time spent with God or working for God is never a waste of time.
1st Corinthians 15:58 – “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Because our time spent with God and serving God is what makes us grow in our relationship with Him. Giving our time serving God is the good things that we do to help other people and to invite them into a relationship with God so that they can be saved. Our time spent with God and serving God is time spent investing in eternity. It’s time spent doing things that will matter forever. Those extra hours watching tv or playing video games or whatever it is, don’t matter past today.
Like I said, it’s okay to have fun and do some things that you like. It’s important for you to relax and unwind, but do some things that matter too. Be thankful to God for your life, for wanting to spend time with you and be in a relationship with you. And be thankful that God has given you a life where you can do things that matter. Give God a day’s worth of your time throughout the week so that you can make a difference in your own life and in the life of someone else. Amen? Amen.

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