As one from the baby boomer generation, I can remember the time when on Sunday all businesses were closed.
The hospital, fire and police departments were the only things open as a necessity. America, a Christian nation, observed Sunday as the Sabbath Day.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day. wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8-11).
Now, we know that this commandment was clearly referring to Saturday as the Jewish holy day. We observe the Sabbath on Sunday because this is the day our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, rose from the grave after having died on the cross for our sins. When I was growing up, Sunday was the day we went to church to worship God then came home and had a family dinner. Perhaps we could go outside for a while before Sunday evening service or baptist student union. Otherwise, it was a time of rest, reflection, and relaxation with family and sometimes friends.
Today, I am saddened as to all the things happening on the Sabbath. The most heartbreaking is the fact that our youth of all ages are engaged in sports all day on Sunday with few exceptions.
Youth basketball and baseball games are scheduled throughout the day on Sundays. The exceptions seems to be football primarily because adults are engaged in professional football. Can you believe that people are willing to “ride or die” with the Falcons in the Bible belt on Sundays? And it takes all day Sunday because you have the tailgate party.
Now do not get me wrong, I enjoy sports. I was a member of the East Rome state basketball championship team of 1970 and then went to Shorter College on a basketball scholarship. However, we never practiced or played games on Sunday.
There are great lessons to be learned through the discipline, hard work, and camaraderie of being on a team. My question is why would we involve our youth in sports on Sunday, the Sabbath day? Is that not being disrespectful to our Lord for all He has done for us, and for all He makes possible for us?
Can you imagine how Jesus feels when we take our children to play ball rather than to bring them to church to worship Him? God’s love for us is unconditional. His grace covers the multitude of our sins. However, we must remember: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:6-7).
So what is our resolve? Parents must take a stand that their children should have the Sabbath day to worship God and to rest. Coaches must concede the best athletes are those nurtured physically and spiritually. We must train a child in the way he should go so when they are old, they will not depart from it.
The Rev. Carey N. Ingram is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.