is it a sin to take off 2 days a week?

I heard something taught last week that I’d like to run by you.

Kind of out of no where, I heard a respected teacher say that if we take 2 days a week off, we are breaking God’s commandments regarding Sabbath. This was based on what Scripture says in Exodus: Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day. (MSG)

While the speaker did not elaborate, I assume that he was not teaching that we have to work on our jobs 6 days a week. The topic was productivity and prosperity and he was saying that it is no wonder that we are not more productive if we lose 1/6th of our work time. Most people I know work 5 days a week and then spend one of their two weekend days off working at home: landscaping, cleaning, cooking – the stuff that makes life flow the rest of the week.  Of course, we all know people who never take a day off which is clearly not what God planned. The speaker did not discuss the number of hours we work per week.

I almost always work 6 days a week, but I found myself a little defensive when I first heard the teaching. I’ve been processing it since then. And I can’t come up with a Biblically based argument to refute what the guy said.  If you disagree with the speaker, don’t shoot me – I’m just the delivery boy. But I’d like some input from others.

One thing I know for sure: there are lots of people who work on their job 6 days a week and then take God’s day, the Sabbath, as their day off. They can’t worship God because they need a break form their work. That, for certain, is wrong.

Any feedback?

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6 responses to “is it a sin to take off 2 days a week?

  • Dwayne N Stacey Harris

    That statement definitely grabbed my attention. It was like being slapped on both sides of the face at the same time. I didn’t know which way to look after it happened. I wanted to reply, “That’s not in the Bible!” However, it was. Go figure.

    Sometimes we would rather work less and pray that God will take up the slack. Or consume our whole life’s work with things that never make a mark for His kingdom. Perhaps an even greater problem, for those in ministry, is people who are busy trying to work in areas that God isn’t working and resting while He’s hard at work. Every good work isn’t God’s Work, but all of God’s work is good work.
    Oh, by the way, I’m still on top of the wave. Praise God!!

  • Randy Holdman

    Rick,
    Great topic of discussion. I too was a bit baffled by the speakers remark.. at first… then I examined my personal work habits and realized I’m cutting myself short a day, if you get my drift. Nevertheless, I guess one could examine the likes of God’s work ethics in creation and spin this different ways. For example. I guess you could say that of the six days God worked, one of those work days was with his family (the day he created man) so if a person is working in his world for 5 days (as God did) and then spend one day laboring and serving his family (as God did) and then spending one day in worship and rest (as Moses wrote) then in essence 5 days in the office, 1 day with the family and 1 day in rest and worship is a biblical model and the majority of people do that. Like you and many of us pastors, I am more burdened about those who are required to work 6 days and have to have their family and worship day all in one day. My attention was also captured by his comment that in his experience since moving from the ranks of a secular career person to a ministry career and spending more time with pastors, that he felt that a lot of pastors are lazy. His boldness in that statement lifted my eye brows, but I have to admit, I have had several pastors who have worked for me and I have friends in the ministry frustrated me because of their laziness.

    As far as the speakers point of view, I wish he would have elaborated a little more on such a deep cutting statement. It’s like hitting the funny bone. It gives a little jerk.. then it leaves ya a little numb… and then you find that area pretty sensitive for a while. At least that is what my response has been. Again, great topic of discussion!! (DISCLAIMER – I typed this fast and did not proof read…. I need an extra day off to do that. LOL)

    • rickwhitter

      I love it when a speaker or writer peaks interest and leaves room for thought. I agree that Mitchell could have given us more with which to work, but it has been fun processing some of his ideas – a week later.

      Thanks for your input!

  • Megan

    I’ve always taken the “work six days and do everything you need to do” as a bit of extra instruction for rest on the seventh. Kind of like a “You have six days to get things done…figure it out so you’re not fiddling around on the Sabbath.” The fact that holiness is attributed to rest on the Sabbath (as opposed to lack of holiness for not working six other days) seems to point to that being the key to the whole passage.

    I think God was very much aware that most of us are more inclined to work every day than take time off (my perspective my be skewed since I tend to keep company with people that don’t rest enough.). Not to say that sloth isn’t an issue unto itself though…

  • SamDillenback

    I think traditionally (could be wrong) the day before the Sabbath was a special day as well (Preparation Day, Luke 23:54) and was the day in which most prepared for the Sabbath, cooking enough food for the next day and cleaning and preparing the home for a day of rest. I don’t think “work” is limited to the job that pays you. Cooking, cleaning, and caring for the home are all work as well. For most Americans who work 50+ hours a week with both husband and wife out of the house, I imagine a good portion of the weekend is spent trying to catch up on the personal work that slips through the cracks M-F. I’m also not sure how the “don’t plant in the 7th year” fits into modern life practices either.

    Good discussion starter!

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