So, what’s so important about Sabbath? From the beginning of recorded time, the importance of taking a day of rest has been stressed as vital to the human condition. Yet here we are, busier than ever before and growing more busy every day. All the new technology that we have that helps to make our lives easier—Facebook, Twitter, texting, cell phones, instant messaging—are the same things that bleed into the time that used to be set aside for rest. Instead of taking time to wind down and reconnect with our families, we are in a constant state of “on.” This constant pull to be in work mode may seem beneficial on the surface, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
With each passing day, we demand that our businesses be open around the clock. I mean, really, who needs a cheeseburger at 4am? But that’s what we have done. We feel the need to be on the go all the time, and that means having businesses that meet our needs. The problem is that these businesses need people to operate. And those people have families. Before you know it, the parents are like ships in the night that only pass as one comes home from work and the other is leaving. Together time is sparse to non-existent, and rest is simply out of the question. I know that we live in a time of economic hardship, and I recognize that people have to take care of their families the best way they can, but we still need to recognize our need for rest – for Sabbath.
The founder of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, faced a similar dilemma when he was opening his first business. During the early years of his first restaurant, he made himself available 24 hours a day, even renting a house next to the diner to make it easier for him to be reached. As business grew, he invested all his money and time into the success of his new venture. His future was on the line, literally. If he failed, he would lose everything. At this critical moment, he made a decision. He says it best in his book, Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People:
“We were not so committed to financial success, however, that we were willing to abandon our principles and priorities. One of the most visible examples of this was our decision to close on Sunday. Ben and I had attended Sunday school and church all our lives, and we were not about to stop just because we owned a restaurant. Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring god and directing our attention to things more important than our business. If it took seven days a week to make a living with a restaurant, then we needed to be in some other line of work. Through the years I have never wavered from that position.”
What initially seemed to be a risk has turned out to be one of the most successful restaurant ventures in America. Taking a day to rest in his business has benefited his bottom line. Your reason for taking a day of rest may not be the same as Truett’s, but rest you should.
We were designed to work, and work hard. But we were also designed to have a day of rest. I make it a point to rest and worship on Sundays, and encourage my friends and family to do the same. I hope you do, too.