The Sanctity of Work

“Six days you will serve (avad) and do all your business (melakah)” (Exodus 20:9).

Just as God did his business in six days, He directs His followers to do the same.

“But the seventh day is the shabbat of Yahweh your Elohiym, you will not do any business…”(Exodus 20:10).

The Shabbat is always transliterated as “sabbath.” Many assume it is simply a name for the day of the week. The original meaning is “to cease or stop.” The noun

Shabbat is a time of ceasing. Hence, the seventh day is a time for ceasing business. This was what God did after He completed His business of making the heavens and and the earth and all that were in them.

“And Elohiym finished his business which He did on the seventh day and He ceased (shavat) in the seventh day from all his business which he did” (Genesis 2:2).

For Christians the rest day is the first day of the week. What is the rest day for? It is to cease from normal work. Even those in shift work need a break from normal work. The Hebrew word “return” (shub) shares the same parent root as Shabbat. But shabbat ends with the ancient letter t that represents a sign or a covenant.

So Christians imitate God by ceasing from normal weekly business so as to return to keep the covenant of God. They do so by worshipping Him or resting in His presence (Exod 31:16,17).

The New Testament further exhorts believers to work as to the Lord Christ:

“If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat” (2Th 3:10 NET).

“Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people, because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ” (Col 3:23-24 NET).