Sabbath and the Workplace

In this day of ease and convenience, you may find that observing the seventh day Sabbath is nearly impossible for you. Most jobs have schedules that aren’t altered by the day of the week or even by the number of hours in a day!

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Author: Terrie Carpenter

Many believers are confronted with the choice between observing our God’s commanded day of rest, and the demands made by our employer. YHWH left no room for question on what day the Sabbath is…it’s the seventh, so says His word, over and over again.

The fourth commandment doesn’t begin with “RememberASabbathday…“but rather, “Remember THE Sabbath day”. And so enters the dilemma.

Is it possible to meet the demands of your employer and keep within the commands of your Creator?

Ultimately, you will find the answers as you search scripture and devote time to seek the answer in prayer.

In the meantime, we can look at our Owner’s Manuel, the Bible, to see how Sabbath fits into our lives without ever stepping out of Our Father’s will.

“Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus did not abolish the seventh day Sabbath during the years that He walked wearing flesh and bone.” 

Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus did not abolish the seventh day Sabbath during the years that He walked wearing flesh and bone. He observed it each week, and didn’t step outside the Law of our Heavenly Father, ever. He did, however, clarify some things about the day, and about the rules that were made of men’s traditions instead of God’s Perfect Law. The gospel accounts all show that although it appeared as though Jesus was breaking a Sabbath Law, in reality He went about doing good and preserving life, something that’s always at the top of God’s “to do” list. He illustrated that the letter of the Law was occasionally usurped by the spirit of the Law. To serve our God and to love our neighbor is always at the top of the list. It is the part of the Law that the rest of the Law hangs on.

In the beginning, the Sabbath day was sanctified with instructions on how to use it. In Exodus 20, the command is quite clear. On THE seventh day, do no work, and do not cause someone else to have to work either. Exodus 31 gives us a glimpse of the seriousness our God placed on the day. Verses 15 and 16…Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.(KJV) Perpetual…forever! We must keep in mind that this is not a matter to be taken lightly, but a commandment from the “Top Ten” list.

Let’s take a look at the Sabbath day in the times of our Savior. In the 12th chapter of the book of Matthew, we see that Jesus both picked corn and healed a man on the Sabbath day. To the scoffers nearby, He offered these words, “How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.” (Matthew 12:12KJV). It is lawful to do well. Whether or not your profession falls into the category of ‘doing well’ will have to be something to consider when you are figuring all of this out with God for yourself. Even after the death and resurrection of our Messiah, we can see that the first century followers continued in the Sabbath. From Acts 13: And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. (KJV). Colossians was written to believers in those days. These were the followers of our Messiah who truly followed Him in customs and actions. They are given encouragement to keep walking in The Way in the 2nd chapter. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:”(KJV).

And so the Bible gives us much to ponder concerning having to work on the Sabbath. Each believer will have to search out the answers to today’s difficult questions concerning the Sabbath and our work schedules. I will leave you to your Creator to find the answers for your unique situation. I will, however, offer you encouragement in keeping the Sabbath even if (for now) you are still scheduled to work.

As we enter into Sabbath rest, a different mindset envelopes us. After rushing through a busy week, we tend to pay more attention to the things we have missed while focusing on other details.

The beauty all around us, the quiet in our spirit, the connection we have to our Heavenly Father. Having to work on Sabbath needn’t rob us of our determination to set our eyes on Him for the whole day. Simply take your Sabbath mindset to work with you! Make a conscious effort to stay connected all through the day. Use your breaks for prayer. Keep a worship song in your mind. Notice everything around you from a godly perspective. How does your workplace fit in His Kingdom, or do His Kingdom any good? Pray for every person you see while you’re working, and set your heart to be about doing good for the day. Joyfully, no schedule has you on for 24 hours, and so there is still time to do some serious nothing on Sabbath, even after an 8 hour shift! (or before) Don’t forget to connect with another believer to enjoy some holy fellowship, and don’t let go of your connection to your Holy Father even for a minute!

Friends, you have many decisions laid before you concerning working and the Sabbath. Take every concern you have before God in prayer. One by one, He will sort out the issues you have in your own life. His will is to have you live in obedience.

His mercy and grace will cover you as you diligently seek to align yourself to His will. If your job isn’t bringing glory to God or His kingdom, allow Him to open your eyes to new possibilities for employment. If you’re confident that your job fits into His will for your life, then allow Him to make the necessary adjustments to keep you in obedience. He will always, always provide you with the means to carry out His will. He is, after all, still our provider!

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If you practice two-way communication for prayer time, allow God’s Holy Spirit to challenge you about where you stand in Him. In the end, nothing else will matter. Everything in your life should reflect your determination to walk in His ways. You may feel convicted to find a different job altogether. You may feel convicted to alter your schedule with your boss. You may come to realize you even have to take a loss to take a stand! Always seek the truth. When you find it, always act on it accordingly.



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