4 Reasons I Love Sundays

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I love Sundays. In fact, Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Here are 4 reasons I love Sundays:

1.  It’s a day of rest. I’ve been accused of being a workaholic, and I do work hard.  But I learned back in law school to observe the Sabbath. In law school the professors assign students more reading than they can possibly do. They say this teaches the students to handle stress and meet deadlines. I’m not so sure. My colleagues studied 7 days a week. I decided to take a step of faith and trust if I honored the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11), the Lord would make my studying more productive the other 6 days. I carried this habit into my career as a lawyer. This means I’ve worked many Saturdays until midnight, but the blessing has always far outweighed the sacrifice.

2.  It’s a day to worship the Lord. There is nothing like being led by a music group in praise and worship, and there is nothing like experiencing the presence of God in a tangible way.

3.  It’s a day to recharge. My job is high stress. If I didn’t have one day a week with down time I would burn out. I’m sure this is why so many trial attorneys and others in high stress jobs do burn out, develop health problems or end up abusing alcohol or drugs.  There is nothing worse than starting work on Monday exhausted. I don’t, and it’s because I’ve developed the habit of observing the Sabbath.

4.  It’s a day of blessing. For all these reasons, Sunday is a day of blessing for me, and I think this is why Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)  I look forward to Sundays because I know I will not be working but relaxing, worshipping the Lord and recharging. How could it not be my favorite day of the week? But it’s only a blessing if you honor it. If you repeatedly misuse it to catch up at work or earn a few extra bucks it will no longer be a blessing, just another day.

Life in the kingdom of God is a blessing, but only if you obey the King.  If you’ve not developed a habit of observing the Sabbath, I challenge you to try it for the next 4 weeks. By the second or third week you will find yourself looking forward to it, and Sundays will become a blessing in your life. After that it will be easy to make it a habit. GS

The 20% Rule

I pride myself on being a good tipper. In college I worked at a nice restaurant as a waiter to help pay my way through college, so I appreciate the challenges of earning a living on a base pay of $2.13/hr. plus other people’s generosity.

I almost always tip at least 15%, and often tip considerably more than that, but there is a certain time when I almost always tip at least 20%, and that is when our server has overheard us talking about the Lord at the table. I call it “The 20% Rule.”

Talk to anybody who has waited tables for any length of time and they will tell you the Sunday religious lunch crowd are the worst tippers. When I was a waiter, no one wanted to work Sunday lunch for this reason, and from what I’ve heard, not much has changed over the years. The word is out: religious people are terrible tippers.

The problem is that when Christians are bad tippers, whether it be at Sunday lunch or any meal where they’ve given their server an indication they are Christians, they are representing to the world that Jesus is stingy. It’s called being a bad ambassador for the kingdom of God.

So, I created a personal rule some years ago that if I we talk about religious matters at the table and suspect our server has overheard, I tip at least 20%. I’m representing King Jesus and life in the Kingdom; I want to make sure I represent both truthfully. Very simply, Jesus is generous, so I should be generous. The 20% Rule helps me remember to do so. GS

Kingdom Wage & Hour Law

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The law that governs the conduct of Kingdom citizens is not always the same as the law of earthly kingdoms. The Kingdom standard is higher and rarely, if ever, lower. On the issue of wage and hour law, this is certainly true.

The Lord told Moses, “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him.  The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. (Leviticus 19:13).

In other words, you don’t make your employees wait to be paid. In fact, it appears the Lord equates delay in payment with oppression and robbery.

Here’s the problem. Let’s say, like many employers, you pay your employees as infrequently as allowed by your government, which can be as infrequently as monthly.  Once your employee completes his day’s work, he has earned his pay. By you holding on to his money, interest free for a month, you are not only gaining a benefit for yourself, you are also depriving your employee of what the Bible says is lawfully his.

You may be thinking, “I can’t write a paycheck everyday.  That’s not feasible.”  I agree. With the legal requirements of withholding and for timely depositing payroll taxes it would be an administrative nightmare. Here’s what you can do.

With salaried employees, you pay them weekly in advance of their work. That way their wages do not remain with you overnight; they are receiving their wages before they earned them.  You may be thinking, “What if they quit before working the entire week?  Then I will have to try to get the money back from them.”  True, but by paying the employee periodically in arrears, you are forcing the employee to bear the risk that you won’t pay them.  Either way there is a risk to one party or the other, but it’s a risk the Bible places on the employer, who is in the better financial position to bear it.

With hourly employees, because you don’t know in advance how many hours they will work, you probably don’t have a choice but to pay them in arrears.  However, you can and should pay them as often as is possible and practicable, which is usually weekly.

Over the years, I’ve paid my salary employees in advance and my hourly employees weekly, and I’ve always felt it blessed them.  This is as it should be for employees employed in a business run by one operating under the delegated authority of King Jesus because the law of the Kingdom should be a source of blessing for those who nest in the branches of the kingdom of God.  GS

A Kingdom Response to Governmental Authority

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The last three U.S. presidents have had an emotionally polarizing effect on the electorate.  When Bill Clinton was president, my friends on the right demonized him and complained about him constantly.  They were in a bad mood for eight years.  When George Bush was president, my friends on the left did the same.  Now I hear it again from my friends on the right with regard to President Obama.  All of this makes me think people believe politics are more important than they really are, but that’s a discussion for another day.

The apostles Peter and Paul lived under some bad leaders.  Tiberius Caesar, who ruled from 14 A.D. to 37 A.D. was a pederast.  His successor, Caligula (reigned 37 A.D. to 41 A.D. ), was a lunatic and tyrant, who made his horse a senator and was allegedly involved in incestual relationships with his sisters.  Caligula’s successor was Claudius (reigned 41 A.D. to 54 A.D.), who, if you believe Robert Graves’s I Claudius, was the best of the lot.  But he was followed by Nero Caesar (reigned 54 A.D. to 68 A.D.), who wrongly blamed Christians for the great fire in Rome of 64 A.D. (which some historians believe Nero actually set), threw Christians to the lions and made them into human torches to light his garden parties at the palace. Peter and Paul were ultimately put to death by Nero.

Yet here’s what Paul said about how Christians should respond to their government:  “Let every person be in subjection to governing authorities.” (Romans 13:1).  “Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:7). “…I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all goodliness and dignity.” (I Timothy 2:2).

The Apostle Peter said: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” (I Peter 2:13-14).

There’s a very practical reason the Bible requires we respect authority. Jesus reigns primarily through delegated authority, and as the kingdom of God advances on the earth more Christians will move into places of authority.  The Biblical admonition of respect for authority contemplates the day when it will be Christians who benefit by that respect.

What do you think? GS

How Kingdom Citizenship Provides Basis for Racial Harmony

One of the things I love about my church is we are truly diverse.  In fact, if you were to visit our church you would see it looks very much like the major city in which I live.  This is as it should be, and for good reason.

The Apostle Paul said that Jesus, through the cross, abolished the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles and reconciled them into one. (Ephesians 2:11-16).  This was a result of the cross of Christ.  The genius of the cross is it ensures all must come the same way to God.  It doesn’t matter how much money one has, how skilled they are, how strong they are, how religious or how good they are, because none of that is a basis for being reconciled to God.

Only through the finished work of the cross does one gain access to God.  Therefore, we all come the same way, and consequently, we are all born again “equal.”  This is the basis for racial harmony.  All others are cheap imitations: they may achieve some progress, but they do not get one to the finish line.

The foundation for the love the members of our racially diverse church have for one another is not inspired by a humanitarian impulse, man-made political correctness or even a common cause, but that we were all rescued the same way, by the same Person, through nothing we brought to the table.  As a result, none of us can claim to have been more deserving of our reconciliation to our Creator. As the Apostle Paul said, “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The cross, and hence citizenship in the Kingdom, is the foundation for racial harmony.  GS