27 October 2008

Food, Sabbath, Etc.

I am going to tidy up the loose ends from the last post, so this one won't be too structured.

A lady asked me a couple weeks ago a question about working on Sundays. She asked, with the given assumption that we as Christians are to do no work on Sunday, if we can replace Sunday with a different day of the week. For example, if my job schedules me to work on a Sunday, can I still be obedient to God if I do no work on Monday instead?

First, I told her that, if we want to be technical, the Sabbath is Saturday. If we are going to be particular about a day, we've already screwed it up by taking Sunday so seriously. Next, what day is it really, anyway? How can we know that last Saturday was an exact multiple of seven days since God rested? (I have no reason to believe it isn't.) As we are soon to fall back our clocks, we've conceded to the fact that time as we reckon it is arbitrary. Likewise, when exactly Sunday begins and ends is arbitrary. So again, anyone who is particular about a day ought to be regarding the time of rest as stretching from sundown to sundown. If instead you go by society's clocks, you've screwed it up.

As Chicago posed, does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?

Does God care?

I told the lady that the day doesn't matter. The only reason Sunday is important today is because that's when the Body gathers. If I am to be obedient to God and build up the Body, I ought to meet with them. We've decided to do that on Sunday. And, if I am doing good things, Kingdom work, on Sunday, then that is far better than working to see how little I can work.

Now, as it relates to food, here's my thought: Is cooking for yourself on a sabbath day of rest considered work? I didn't research much, but on Leviticus 23 Matthew Henry commented:
On other holy days they were forbidden to do any servile work (Lev 23:7), but on the sabbath, and the day of atonement (which is also called a sabbath), they were to do no work at all, no, not the dressing of meat.

If it is forbidden work then we should prepare our food on Saturday or eat out for every Sunday meal. The problem with eating out is that we've simply passed the buck on to other people who do the work for us. Make someone else sin so I don't have to. Great!

My point is simply that if you are going to make a fuss about Sunday, at least be consistent. But really, don't make a fuss about Sunday. Do some Kingdom work, and meet with God's people.

The last thing I want to say regards tipping servers at restaurants. I was eating out with a Christian brother once, and he made a point to tip generously. He explained to me that since God has been generous to us, of all people in the world we ought to be most generous. Should the tip reflect how well the server performed? Maybe. But I know that if God was generous to me in proportion to how well I perform, it would be some generous wrath. Sure, the server may take the money and squander it. Regardless, I believe it to be an act of worship towards God when I act generously out of gratitude for his generosity. Another point to consider is Jesus' emphasis on serving:

Luk 22:27 "For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves."
Mar 10:45 "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Luk 12:37 "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them."

The person that serves us at a restaurant, as insignificant as it may seem, is acting Christlike. So I say tip 'em well.

But decide for yourself.

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