The Sabbath: a Day outside of Commerce

We have been learning about the meaning of commerce: commercial law, commercial courts, etc. As it turns out, there is a difference between common law and commercial law. Commercial law has to do with when your actions have potential to threaten property or investments. Common law is when you actually injure a real person.

Is commerce significant? I suppose in some respects it is. It is used as the tally to determine our worth. It is subjective and falls short, yet it in the age in which we live it is commonly accepted as a standard for the measurement of worth or value.

Don and I have conversations in which I wonder whether we might do without commerce and he says we require it, though it can be just, as it was in the Old Testament (at least as called for by law, though I’m not sure it was ever fully practiced as God intended). God had an entire system mapped out regarding how debtors were treated, how one might be released from debt and have family lands restored, standards of weights and measures and so on.

Even in this system commerce carries a sort of weight. Jessica Jones wrote based on a series of visions she had that lucifer invented commerce as a means to facilitate control over the other angels, and to fortify his own position. In commerce when you own or control a lot you have means to control others. The inference is that in commerce, others determine your influence and position. Others determine who you are, and they let you know, and they hold you in the spot they create for you.

In the times in which we live stepping outside of commerce is almost impossible. Your phone tells you when it requires you to do something (upgrades) and you do it. Your television tells you what to buy, where to go, what to drive, how to relax, how to relate to other people, and you obey. You step outside and hear your neighbor’s mower (or chipper or blower) and it reminds you that you have yard work to do. Your creditors frequently and assertively tell you to pay them. If you don’t, they will call your family and friends and ask them why you haven’t (sure, technically this is illegal but I promise you they do it, and in a way crafted to stir up fear, controversy and pressure).

Fear is an incredible weapon used against us. I don’t even want to get into that here. Well, maybe I should. Fear is the motivator behind nearly all TV commercials. Think about it. They make you afraid you will lose friends over yellow teeth (or the wrong beer or the wrong car); they make you afraid you will appear a loser if your lawn / car / house isn’t fabulous; they make you afraid you are a loser and / or will be thought one.

Yeah. This is all commerce. As it is expressed in the 21st century.

We don’t think much about the Sabbath. I have written about it before. It’s one of the ten commandments, but probably the one most often broken. Seriously, do you know anybody who really takes a day off every week? I mean: off.

I think to do so we must step outside of commerce. I think God meant the Sabbath to be a day outside of commerce. He became very distressed when His people let people from other nations in to trade on the Sabbath. You’re not supposed to buy or sell on the Sabbath. You’re supposed to be outside of commerce. You’re supposed to have a day in which to draw your identity from your relationship with God rather than a toothpaste commercial.

Of course, ideally you should draw your identity from Him every day, but in case you don’t, here’s a chance to take a day when you do. When you intentionally and consciously do.

If you want to undertake this quest be careful about going to church. If there is anybody there you need to impress, or if you feel pressure about putting $$$ in the plate (this is, after all, a form of commerce, or could be, depending upon your attitude), maybe you should step away–or at least call another day your Sabbath: your day outside of commerce.

This is simply a suggestion. Sabbath is meant to be restorative. Israel was exiled to Babylon for the number of years they failed to give the land its one-every-seven-years Sabbath. The land needs to be restored from requirements placed upon it. You need to be restored from requirements and expectations placed upon you. What would happen if you had a day a week without requirements or expectations?

My guess is, something good.

Leave a Reply