Saturday, April 18, 2009

Making Other People Work on Sundays

Christians are notorious for flooding restaurants after church services. I have even heard pastors joke about keeping sermons short so that listeners can beat members of another congregation to a popular restaurant. Eating out after church provides an opportunity for extended fellowship and helps Christians avoid the work of preparing and cleaning up after a meal on a day that is usually set aside for rest.

But what about the restaurant employees? Are we forcing them to work on Sundays by going out to eat? Should we be?

My family occasionally eats out on Sundays, and we often walk around the mall, go bargain hunting at local drugstores, or go grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons. I bothers me that I’m making others work on Sundays, even those who wouldn’t go to church anyway, but I hate to miss out on the free-after-rebate deals that are sold out by Monday, and walking around the mall is one of my husband’s favorite forms of relaxation.

As for grocery shopping, sometimes finding time to shop on another day is more stressful than actually going on a Sunday. We tend to schedule any full-day family activities for Saturdays (our normal grocery shopping days) because church takes a half-day of our time. Our pantries are nearly empty by the weekend, and when we do have a busy Saturday, we have to find some time to go shopping – Sunday afternoon tends to be the most convenient.

I’ve heard some arguments that partially relieve my guilty conscience about making others work Sundays. I wonder if I’m rationalizing, though, when I remind myself that the store would be open even I didn’t come. So far, the best argument I have heard for patronizing businesses on Sundays is the impossibility of going to the logical extreme – if I don’t want anyone else to work on Sunday, I couldn’t go to the emergency room, call the fire department, or even turn on a light one day a week.

I wouldn’t advocate reinstating the blue laws that required stores to remain closed on Sundays – after all, not everyone worships on a Sunday – but I would like to do something to honor those that prioritize worship over commerce by staying closed one day a week. I would also like to see Christians doing something more to promote a slower pace of life one day a week.

Any ideas?


  1. This isn't something that bothers me much, although at times it gets to me. Chris frequently spends Sunday afternoons working from home because that's the scheduled maintenance window for the city's servers. It bugs me a little when he has to go in to the office, but that's just the nature of his job. Plus, if you want to get really technical, the Sabbath is Saturday, and there's no biblical admonition to keep "the Lord's Day" (Sunday) as a day of rest, so I don't know.

    ONE THING that I do know from experience (warning soapbox) is that Christians are the worst tippers, and servers dread getting the "penny and a prayer card". They're also very rude and demanding. I was dismayed by my fellow "brothers & sisters" during my waitressing days on numerous occasions! Truly! So, my idea is that if Christians are going to go out after church on Sunday, they ought to be gracious, and tip BIG, and perhaps leave the "prayer card." That kind of witness would go a long way!! Oh, and it's also not good to sit at the table gossiping about the people at church or tear apart the pastor's sermon, not that that would ever happen...I'm just sayin'. (putting away soapbox) ;)

  2. "EEEEMommy" - boy, you hit what a lot of servers complain about right on the head with how the church crowd are bad tippers, overdemanding, and gossipers. Could this be one of the reasons the servers would rather be working than in church?

    I work on Sundays, in a restaurant, and I choose to. I go to my church service in the morning, and have all day with my family - I go into work in the evening and close at the restaurant. I choose to work there, because it gives me time with my family every other day, and despite how bad some tips are - I still bring home the same amount of money for a few hours on the weekend as I did working full time and paying for daycare to keep my kids.

    Plus, it's been an eye opening experience for me. I knew what my life was like back in my younger days - but honestly I was getting comfortable in my life NOW - no doubtedly a better part of life for me. But in the process, I have forgotten how many young people struggle with the same crap that I had previously gone through. God always put people in my life for me to talk to and to essentially help me through some of the rough times. Maybe God wants me to go in there to help guide these young people now? I don't preach to them, because that will only drive them away, but I talk to them as a friend - a very nonjudgemental friend. I'm amazed by how receptive these young people are to me, how much they respect me, and yes how much they tell me (and touch my heart).

    So many people want to complain about the youth today - how they don't attend church, are disrespectful, etc. But, so many of them grew up without much guidance from their parents - and from my perspective it's not true that they are disrespectful, you just need to earn their respect by treating them like you would want to be treated. It's so simple, yet so many people miss that.

    That being said, for the purposes mentioned, I like working Sunday nights. I miss my family....but I miss them much less than I would if I'd work 40 hours + per week. It's a win/win situation, and keep in mind, just because those people are working on Sundays - DOES NOT mean that they are not Christians and/or not doing the work God intended for them to do in some way.

  3. Oh and if everyone would stop going into restaurants/stores on a Sunday - I think it'd do more harm than good, as the people who DO work Sundays would be missing their earnings and would have to supplement in another way, even putting their kids back in daycare rather than being with them more. And the kids that work, the majority of them are in college and need the money to help them through school. Many of them are doing this themselves, without the help of their parents. Which says a lot about their character, doesn't it? Do keep those factors in mind when tipping - because that truly is what they earn ($2.50/hour does not add up to enough to buy one book, or grocery shopping for a family).


Thanks for your comments! Agree or disagree, but please comment respectfully.