It’s 4:00 pm on a Saturday and your lawn is looking an inch or two away from the HOA phone call. You are tired. You had a tough week full of tough decisions, hectic schedules, and strained relationships. You want it to look good for Sunday. You want everything to look good for Sunday. It is the Lord’s Day and it deserves special treatment.
Depending on how you were raised, this is the focus starting on Saturday night in particular; getting everything ready for a “perfect” Sunday. On Sunday we wear the best clothes. We try to go out of our way to be polite, our house looks good and we look good.
There are hundreds of decisions made each day. Many modern-day Christians divorce who they are in Christ from what they do on a daily basis. Their identity as a Christian really only has a place on Sunday or perhaps at a small group in the week; the rest of the time they are simply a landscaper, a homemaker, a lawyer, etc.
I found that this mindset made it easy to subconsciously see Sunday in a different light than the rest of the week. I would focus on Christ in a way starting Sunday morning that I would not do Monday through Saturday. This was unintentional, but a byproduct of this focus nonetheless.
I never thought to ask, “Is this Scriptural”? Are there secular activities and sacred activities? This is not to say that I saw this as a license to sin in the week and live godly on the weekend. Though perhaps it was a temptation to think a little too highly of my piety on the weekend than I should have.
Is there a difference between the secular and the sacred? Are there activities that fall outside of the purview of the spiritual and are, so to speak, amoral and unimportant? Rarely is a trip to the grocery store seen as an opportunity to glorify God. This is understandable. Keeping this as part of our mindset in every activity takes careful cultivation and does not come naturally. The renewing of our minds takes careful work. This work of cultivating a habit of Soli Deo Gloria, or all to God’s glory, is crucial, scriptural, and life-changing.
C.S. Lewis elucidated this concept in the posthumously published Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer. He addressed the notion of the sacred and the secular as two separate entities and argued that:
“This department of life, labelled ‘sacred,’ can become an end in itself; an idol that hides both God and my neighbours. (‘When the means are autonomous they are deadly.’) It may even come about that a man’s most genuinely Christian actions fall entirely outside that part of his life which he calls religious.”
I used to think that the bifurcation of our lives into the sacred and secular creates a mindset where activity A is a secular activity (i.e. grocery shopping) and activity B is a sacred activity (i.e. attending church). I thought that the problem with this duality was that we can begin to justify certain behaviors in our secular activities that we wouldn’t in our sacred.
I missed Lewis’ greater point that to become “legalistic” in our mindset and to separate out different camps of activities in our lives was to create a religion of the activities that WE deemed to be more spiritual or sacred than another whether or not God saw them this way.
Lewis’ point, as I see it, is that in a given moment, possibly the most sacred thing we could do to glorify God is to lay down and take a nap. The difference between a legalistic mindset and a mind that is wholly given to living to the Glory of God is that “…, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Cor. 10:31.