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Examine Scripture

Mark 3:1-5

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Working on the Sabbath…

Jesus shows us that there may be valid reasons to work on the sabbath:

Again he entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched him closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. -Mark 3:1-5, NAB

Jesus teaches us that there may be valid reasons for working on the sabbath.  Along the lines of Jesus’ ministry, I thought of a few vocations that may have to work the sabbath occasionally:

  • Doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals – People get sick on Sunday too.
  • Police and law enforcement – Unfortunately, they cannot rest unless the criminals do as well.
  • Firefighters and paramedics – Real life superheroes are needed seven days a week.
  • Military men and women – Because protecting our freedom is a 24-7-365 kind of job.
  • Priests and religious leaders – What would we do on Sunday without them?

The problem with laws and rules is that they can seem rather black and white.  To the Pharisees, honoring the Sabbath meant absolutely nothing that could be considered labor should be done on the sabbath.  Christ teaches us differently.  There are many gray areas, and like the work of Christ, there may be many valid reasons that somene may have to work on the sabbath.

Do you work at an orphanage taking care of children in desparate need of love?  Do you work with the elderly, helping them with even the most basic tasks?  Do you feed the poor when there is nowhere else for them to find food?  If you do any of these things, I assure you, they are forms of labor that can be done on Sunday.

What’s the difference that makes certain types of work allowable?  Well, who are you working for?  Are you serving others?  Are you healing the sick, protecting the innocent, or feeding the poor?  Or, are you doing work meant to fill your pockets?  Are your goals financial?  Are you doing your work or God’s work?  That’s the difference.  How do you spend your time on the sabbath?

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