Sabbath ‘TO DO’ List
We all know that the Sabbath is one of the first indicators that SDA youth don’t make the cut for the “cool” crowd as early as elementary school days. There is often a focus on what can’t be done on the Sabbath. When someone approaches the issue, our answer to the question “What do you do on the Sabbath?” is almost always prefaced with “Well, I don’t [fill in the blank].” This template textbook answer automatically gives a weak and somewhat sour tasting impression of what Sabbath-keeping is really all about.
Not only does this focus on the infamous “Don’t List” depreciate the value of our Sabbath-keeping testimony, but also it places an unnecessary struggle on how to spend Sabbath afternoons when your parents are looking. I got a message from my little cousin the other day which prompted the writing of this post. She’s practically “grown up in the church” as they say, and yet she left what seemed to be silly question in my voicemail: “What can you do without breaking the Sabbath?” Before responding I had to investigate further by requesting an explanation on her Facebook wall. She responds with the following:
“umm well there isnt really anything more to it… its just that… what can be done without breaking it? as much as you understand… i mean i havent heard a real answer in… well, ever. no one really seems to know. we just pretend like we do and i cant do that anymore, i need to know. I kinda know… but i kinda dont… which basically means that i dont. thats not cool, if im for something i gotta know it. And so i need to know if its what im about and if so what does that mean. What can i do… not what cant i do, since everyone seems to know those… but what does that leave besides reading and singing… does it even really leave fellowship? because can there be conversation about mundane things? well noone really knows… and i refuse to play the part without know the role any longer.”
I hesistated before responding, because my cousin usually is the one schooling me on the top twenty topics found under the spiritual debate column. I started wondering about the question myself and even had to consult my dad and a friend. I don’t remember dreading the Sabbath. There were a few events that tugged on my heart as a teen that conflicted, but I knew the answer already. My experience has been, “if you doubt, do without” and for so many Sabbaths there was never a question of what to do, because there was often a hectic schedule prepared already. From Sabbath afternoons spent away at boarding school, to choir practices, AY, knocking on doors, workshops/lectures, and more I sometimes wanted to just not know. So the question posed as is, What can you do without breaking it? Well, here’s my response copied and pasted:
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Cor. 10:31. If you are walking in the Spirit, you’ll know what to do. The answer you are looking for, you’ll never find by asking someone else. Just ask Him. -That’s the short answer.
Next time you are confronted with the Sabbath question, I would encourage you to think of your “To Do” list as opposed to the old “Don’t List.” Because Sabbath is more about what we make of it, than what we trade for it. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). So I rest with Him, fellowship with Him, read about Him, love on Him, and worship Him. What’s on your “To Do” list this Sabbath?