How the ‘Weekend’ Can Pull Us Away from our Chief End

by Rev. James Bryner Chu

 

Many of us take the weekday/weekend division of our days for granted. In our minds, weekdays are for work, study, and other self-giving obligations. In contrast, weekends are for our much deserved times of self-care, rest, and enjoyment. We tend to schedule our extra-curricular activities on the weekends —

Weekends are for adventures.
Weekends are for out-of-town trips.
Weekends are for staycations.
Weekends are for family gatherings and reunions.
Weekends are for hobbies and passion projects.
Weekends are for watching or doing sports.
Weekends are for partying late.
Weekends are for staying home and reading a book.
Weekends are for waking up late.
Weekends are for binge watching one’s favorite shows.
Weekends are for romantic dates.
Weekends are for decluttering and removing things that do not spark joy.
Weekends are for catching up with friends.
Weekends are for not doing anything at all.
Weekends are for whatever we decide them for.

But is this weekend/weekday divide compatible with a Christian way of thinking of our days? And should this scheme guide us in the way we order our activities? What does the Bible have to say? What we find in the Bible is actually a completely different way of thinking of our days. Right from the Creation week, we see God blessing and setting apart one day out of seven as a day of rest:

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:3 ESV)

In so doing, God instituted a creation ordinance that was for all peoples, in all places, and for all time. God also affirmed this creation ordinance for his people through the giving of the law:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8–11 ESV)

The prevailing idea of an extended weekend, then, is foreign to the Bible. We have six days each week that we are free to order as we please but there is one day out of each week that we cannot touch. It is holy unto the Lord. A day that God has set apart to himself and blessed as a day of rest in him. What this means is that we do not have a two-day weekend at our own disposal. Whatever we decide to do on our ‘weekends’ we are not free to ignore the Lord’s Day that God has blessed and called holy. Everything I’ve enumerated above (i.e. staycations, family gatherings, adventures, &c.) are all lawful endeavors for a Christian to do (for the glory of God!) on any other day, except on the Lord’s Day.

But if, driven by the idea of the ‘weekend,’ we allow these activities to intrude upon the Lord’s Day, then we would have already conformed to ‘the pattern of this world.’ As Christians, we must not allow the convenience of a two-day weekend to pull us away from our chief end of worshipping God and finding our ultimate rest and joy in Him.

For the Christian, worship with the people of God on the Lord’s Day is the one ‘not-to-be-missed’ event of each week. On this day, we experience a full embodiment of what our catechism calls our chief end: “…to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism 1). On the Lord’s Day, the Lord summons us up to his mountain to meet with him and to worship him with all his people. It is a foretaste of heaven here on earth and it is so important that no ‘weekend’ activity should ever be allowed to pull us away from it.

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22–24 ESV)

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