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660 Mason Ridge Center Drive
Suite 100
St. Louis, MO 63141
Ph: 314.590.6200
Fax: 314.590.6201

From The President's Desk

June/July 2013

Rev. Ray Mirly

 

The Seventh Day

"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done" (Gen. 2:2-3 NIV).

Farming is hard work. As mechanized as it has become, farming remains a difficult, arduous vocation. In the 1950s much of what farmers did required a lot of physical labor. For example, bales of hay were loaded from the field to a wagon, placed on an elevator or hay fork to hoist them into the barn loft and then finally stacked by hand until they would be moved from the loft to feed the cattle in the winter.

Neighbors often shared in this hard work. Such was the case on my Uncle Dick’s farm. Hay hauling was as much a social occasion as it was work. As many as 15 or more men and boys worked together to get the bales into the barn. Wives and daughters from the various families came along for the day, spending their time cooking a huge noon meal as well as mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks that were brought out to the hay field along with cool, fresh water.

What I remember is that after the smorgasbord-type noon meal was eaten and dessert was finished, Uncle Dick and the other adult men moved from the kitchen to rest under a large shade tree. They laid down for a nap! Yes, these hard-working men took time every day to rest following dinner. It was almost a ritual. What was amazing to me is that the noon nap took a half hour or more but the work still got done!

Resting on the seventh day, God had more in mind than a nap at noon! The seventh day (Sabbath) God set apart, blessed it, made it holy! He rested from His labor. In the Old Testament, the seventh day, the day of rest, was Saturday. Today, in the New Testament era, the holy day for us Christians is Sunday (the first day of the week). For us, Sunday is a celebration and remembrance of Christ’s resurrection and the new life we have in Him. Our old sinful life has died! God in His grace through His gift of faith in His Son Jesus has given us a new life, a right relationship with Him.

As modern farmers with all their high-powered, modern, sophisticated equipment seem to never have time to "rest" until the crop is planted or harvested, so it seems many of the rest of us do not take time to "rest" either. We are always on the go! We have little or no time to rest in the Lord! There is precious little time for Bible reading, daily personal, couple and family devotions, let alone attendance at corporate weekly worship services.

The Third Commandment says, "Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy." The explanation in the Small Catechism says, "We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it."

Uncle Dick insisted all the men helping him put his hay crop into his barns would take time for rest. God, in giving us the Third Commandment, exhorts us to take time every week for spiritual rest and renewal. How foolish we are when we permit ourselves to become engaged in so many activities that there is no time left for spiritual rest through devotions or worship. God invites us to come on Sundays to receive His Divine Service. He wants to bless us with His Holy Spirit to nurture and strengthen our faith in Jesus through hearing His Word and receiving the Sacraments.

Jesus invites, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).

 

 

 

Page Last Updated: 6/4/2013 3:15:31 PM

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