You and I are different. You and I may also have some similarities. Neither right nor wrong. In some ways good, and in some ways maybe not as good. It depends on the situation and your beliefs.
One of my characteristics is that I can be legalistic. I’ve come to learn that this can have its place. While I’m trying to learn to live more of the life God intended for me, I sometimes come to a situation in which I’m really not sure what is right, because many ideas in The Bible could be interpreted different ways. It depends.
This is one of those situations. Even after I have prayed about it, I’m still not certain. One idea that makes my sometimes legalistic view a challenge is in the case of God’s grace. Darn! Now I’m not sure what to do.
Here is my situation. I take very seriously the idea of honoring the Sabbath. As a workaholic, I get very adamant about not working on Sundays. As you probably know, calm, loving Jesus walked though God’s house turning over tables because people had turned it into a market place.
Jesus at the Temple
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[f]”
I make it a practice not even to open emails on Sunday because they are 99% work. If I opened up my mail program, I’d have a tendency to see some seemingly urgent email and be tempted to do just that one, which would probably lead my doing more. I remove that temptation. I believe that is where my legalistic view helps me do what is right.
Now, here is where God’s grace can make it somewhat unsure for me. I have become clear that if I am a follower of Jesus, I should no longer hold my own workshops on Sunday. As you may notice, this year’s Lady and the Champs will be held on Friday and Saturday; traditionally it has been held on Sunday.
This past weekend I spoke at a District TM Conference. When I was originally invited they asked me to speak on Friday night. I could not as I was going to be with family celebrating my nephew’s graduation from college. I told them I would fly in as early as possible on Saturday morning. The leaders asked if I would do a workshop on Sunday morning since I could not do a Friday night event. Crap. What do I do?
I’m not sure what is right and what is wrong. I know in my earlier years, when I was not as close to God and the teachings of the Bible, I would not have thought twice about working on Sunday. In fact I often did. Then I thought about the legalistic Pharisees trying to trap Jesus as he was healing people on the Sabbath. As I understand it, Jesus chided them by asking them if one of their animals needed water, wouldn’t they help it, even on the Sabbath?
15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
Now, I don’t claim to be healing people when I speak, but I do believe that when I’m on stage I’m helping people.
So far, this is what I have done. Feel free to comment below if you have a view on it. Here is where I struggled due to my legalistic view. I’ve been on the road traveling for several days. I now have only two days to unpack and prepare to head out again to speak in Korea. As you can probably imagine, extra prep work is involved with this trip. Mondays are typically overwhelming as I take Sundays off from all work, meet with my micro group (small group) every Monday, have normal daily work to catch up on, projects, and write my weekly article.
So, wanting to alleviate some of that stress, I started trying to justify doing some of the work on Sunday. I thought that maybe I could write my article and this God blog? It would be cool to have that done and free up so much time. Yikes! Can I do that? My old Catholic guilt kicked in. I reached out to my pastor and my Christian girlfriend, Cathey, and got their take. I thought of helping an animal. Is that OK? Is it not? Am I trying to justify creatively?
Now, I’ve been told before that because I was even wondering and asking, it means that I’m okay and that God’s grace will cover it. I’m not exactly sure, which is why I’m writing and sharing this exact experience. Answers and wisdom come from experience.
I’ve also heard one of my pastors explain to me that it does not matter which day of the week, as long as you focus on God one day a week. That may not be exactly what he said, but that was how I understood it. Question, though: What is a day? A 24-hour period? Sunup to sundown? Yikes, being legalistic can be stressful!
I decided to write the article and the God Blog on Sunday. I’m torn but feel as if it is okay. I prayed about it and asked God for a pass and understanding. Is that right? I don’t know. I’m writing this on a plane close to God as I travel home.
In this type of situation, I guess I need to try to understand better what is right in God’s eyes and on my heart.
(Reminder, this is just a journal of my mistakes, experiences, and thoughts along my journey to having a closer relationship to God. I do not claim to be an authority on the subject. If you want to know The Way, read The Bible.)
Thank you, God, for Grace, Truth, Love, and Laughter,
P.S. Thank you, especially, for grace.
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