I lived in my grandmother’s home for most of my elementary school years. My father’s full-service gas station stood right beside it. The gas station was a great place for a little girl to pop into. And when I heard the ignition start on my dad’s WWII surplus jeep, I loved to climb aboard and tag along. I liked being my dad’s shadow and getting underfoot.
Between my fifth and sixth grades, however, we moved into a new house that was out of town. I saw my dad less and less because he worked seven days a week. Then the “Blue Laws” legislation passed. In keeping with the ethos of a Bible Belt state, Blue Laws, also known as “Sunday Laws,” restricted or banned Sunday activities to promote a day of worship and rest. These laws forced my dad to close his gas station on Sundays and stay home.
The matriarchs of my family were quite supportive of the laws. My dad saw them as a threat to the economy in general and his making a living in particular. The new rules delighted me; I embraced them with joy because Dad was now home with us one day a week. We could once again do things together. The laws forced him to change his routine and allowed him opportunities for rest.
When the Blue Laws disappeared, my dad didn’t go back to his old ways of pumping gas and fixing cars all week long. I never asked why he kept up the Sabbath day routine, but I suspect it was not on religious grounds. Perhaps after being forced to set aside one day to be with family and rest he saw the value in doing so. What would it take for us to fully understand the value of Sabbath?
In an era when so many work from home, how do we honor our need for a full day of rest from our labors?
God, show us how providing for our families includes providing time for rest, renewal, and honoring you. Teach us how to follow your model of work and rest. Amen.