Reformed Christians prize Christian liberty very highly and, as such, we often seek to guard our tongues from letting fly any dogmatic, extra-biblical statements. The proceeding article is not meant to be taken as a dogmatic statement. There are clear teachings in Scripture about what must and must not be done on and around the Sabbath. For instance, we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as is the custom of some. However, how we go about fulfilling those Scriptural requirements is a matter of Christian liberty.
In the first century, before a new moon, a festival, or a special sabbath day, the Jews would often observe a day of preparation in which they would prepare themselves for worship. This often included the visiting of marketplaces to ensure that they had everything that was needful for the celebration of the day. This was especially true for those who had traveled great distances to observe the festival.
“You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household,” (Deuteronomy 14:26; NASB).
As you come into the presence of God on Sunday, are you undivided in your affections? Do you come into the assembly thinking about the shopping you have to do for the week, the election that is approaching, the game that will be on TV later in the day, or the work that still needs to be done around your house? How much of this might be due to the fact that you, like most Westerners, have treated your Saturday as its own sort of Sabbath, rather than as a day of preparation for the Sabbath?
As the Lord’s Day approaches, take some time to consider each week how you might most efficiently spend your Saturday. Perhaps you might come to treat it as a day of preparation so as to optimize your spiritual benefit as you come to worship your God and King on His Day. However you take this gentle encouragement, my hope is that your worship would be enriched and your time would be well spent throughout the week, that you would work and complete all your labors, so that you might be free to rest fully in Christ on the Lord’s Day.