Is Chick-fil-A’s decision to close on Sundays really necessary? – John 5:16-30, Part 1

My son will nearly every Sunday on our way home from our church’s worship service ask if we can get Chick-fil-A. If you know about Chick-fil-A, you know that my son is either being very forgetful or joking. I can tell you that he’s not forgetful, at least when it comes to getting Chick-fil-A. Instead, he is trying to make a joke, knowing full well that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays.

Why would an incredibly popular fast food chain close their doors on the day of the week that is arguably the most profitable for fast food? It’s a somewhat radical decision in today’s world. The founders of Chick-fil-A require all their locations to be closed on Sundays, and they do so based on their Christian faith commitments. In fact, their outdoor signs say, “Closed Sundays,” as you can see in the photo above.

Should Christian establishments be open or closed on Sundays? On the one hand, from a business standpoint, it’s a poor decision to close on Sundays.  Open on Sunday, and you’ll likely increase your income quite a bit.  You’ll also be providing jobs for people.  You’ll be providing a service for people who want to visit your establishment.  You can even say, from a theological standpoint, that since we Christians are stewards of God’s money and possessions, we should seek to expand them for him and his mission.  If we have more money, we can support more ministry. 

On the other hand, what about time for rest?  What about making it easy for people to worship?  What about shutting down on Sunday as an act of faith in God?  Those are all good things, all based on a theological, biblical rationale too.

What did Jesus do about Sundays?

Interestingly, Jesus got in big trouble for working on the Sabbath.  In our series through the Gospel of John, this week we are studying John 5:16-30. In John 5, verse 16, John writes:

“So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.”

What was Jesus doing on the Sabbath that would get people upset at him?  Sabbath being a day of worship, was he interrupting worship services in the temple or synagogue?  Was he himself skipping worship services and telling people to skip with him?

No.  If you scan back to verse 8 earlier in John chapter 5, we read what we talked about last week.  Jesus healed a man and then said to him, “Get up, pick up your mat and walk.” 

That’s exactly what you would do if you just healed a man who had been waiting for this healing for 38 years.  John tells us in verse 9, the man did what Jesus said, but there was one little detail about this situation that presented a problem.  It happened on the Sabbath day.  When the Jewish leaders saw the man walking and carrying his mat, as we can see in verse 10, the basically say, “Stop right there, buddy, you are breaking the law.  You can’t carry your mat on the Sabbath.”

Huh? To us, this sounds utterly ridiculous.  How is carrying your mat on the Sabbath breaking the law?  How could that possibly be?  To try to answer that question, we need to understand the importance of the Sabbath in the Jewish mindset and culture.  What is the Sabbath? Is it the same as Sunday?

Check back to the next post tomorrow, and I’ll try to answer that question.

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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