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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

The Third Commandment

“Remember the Sabbath day and 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; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it." ~ Exodus 20:8-11

"We should so fear and love God as not to despise his Word and the preaching of the Gospel, but deem it holy, and willingly hear and learn it." ~ Martin Luther

I do think Luther missed an important aspect of Sabbath here.

Yes, the Sabbath is meant for our Sunday church going. Yes, it is the time to hear God's Word and learn it.

But he misses the last part of this commandment: that God rested and so we should rest.

How seriously do we take rest?

In the United States, not very. We are the most overworked nation in the world. Some of these statistics are startling: ( )

I have many people in my life who work an average of 60 hours per week - sometimes more - and who on weekends need to spend their time catching up on the household chores. (in essence, our work - and our house - become those idols from the first commandment that come before God).

Add to that our short vacation time, and our woeful lack of family leave time and sick time, and we are a Sabbath-poor nation.

Somewhere along the line the "Protestant work ethic," which perhaps started this model of overwork for us, forgot God's call to rest.

There are those who are trying to change things So when we think of how we might use God's laws in this nation, giving people a change for real rest might be a good place to start.

A Prayer by Martin Luther: Dearest God and Lord, strengthen and uphold us in your pure, precious Word through Jesus Christ our Lord, and help us to show and live our thanks with our fruits of faith to your praise and thanks forever. Amen.

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