Social Changes: Work and Leisure

MEMORY VERSE: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” —I Corinthians 10:31

EXODUS 20:8-11

THE purpose of the Bible is not to regulate social changes in the world, but to reveal to the dedicated people of God what his will for them is as they lay down their lives in his service. They are co-laborers with God in the outworking of his plan, and the Bible reveals that plan to them in order that they might co-operate intelligently with the Master Workman.

It is true, of course, that vast social changes are taking place in the world, and this is clearly manifested in the attitude of the professed Christian world toward God’s law of the Sabbath. The time was when even local civil laws prohibited all work on the Sabbath, and play as well.

Now all that is changed. The Sabbath is one of the most popular days in the week for sports; many types of businesses carry on as usual.

The original Sabbath of the Lord as given to Israel by Moses shortly after the Hebrew people were freed from their bondage in Egypt was simply a day of rest. Both in the Jewish faith and in the professed Christian world the Sabbath has been utilized as a time for religious worship; but this was no part of the original arrangement. It was designed as a day of rest from toil in the ordinary tasks of “making a living.”

The Bible associates the law of the Sabbath with God’s rest from his work of creation: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, … and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exod. 20:11) It may be well, that this is used by some as a reason for observing religious rites and ceremonies on the Sabbath. However, this is not the application made for us in the inspired Word of God.

Hebrews 4:10 reads, “For he that is entered into rest, he also bath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” So far as developments up to that point were concerned God finished his work of creation, and rested from further efforts along this line; and Paul explains that in antitype the Christian rests by faith in Christ. He ceases trying to gain life by his own efforts. This is the New Testament explanation of what the Law of the Sabbath should mean to us.

Although he has never succeeded more than temporarily, under normal circumstances, man’s efforts to live involve him in a recurring schedule which he would like to continue. That way he has a more satisfying sense of “making a living.” On the higher plane of faith and devotion to God there may well be this disposition, through lack of faith, to work out our salvation by our own efforts. Those who do this, however, are failing to enter into that rest in Christ which has been provided for all the true people of God during the present age, the faith age. These should learn that in their service of the Lord, whatever the Lord permits their assignment to be, they should do all to his glory. This is their rest.

ECCLESIASTES 2:4-11, 24, 25

From this lesson by Solomon we find the opposite to peace of heart and joy in the Lord. Solomon, by virtue of his kingly authority and the exorbitant taxation of his subjects, had the ability to surround himself with all the supposed pleasures of life which his carnal soul could imagine.

But even this pleasure-seeking king of Israel found as he grew older that all this was vanity, and he explains, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.”

This was the best that Solomon could make of his life. And although it was all vanity he concluded, “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God” God does want his human creatures to be happy; and in due time, when his glory fills the earth, those who obey his laws and honor him will enjoy all the bountiful fruits of paradise.


For what purpose was the law of the Sabbath given to Israel?

What is its antitype today for Christians?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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