The seventh-day Sabbath features prominently in the life and teachings of every Seventh-day Adventist. And why not? It’s not only a perpetual reminder of the reality of God’s creation—it’s also one of the hallmarks of all those who “keep [God’s] commands and remain faithful to Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).
And while we’re all familiar with the biblical mandate to keep it holy, I wonder if it is truly a day of rest. If the Sabbath becomes just another day of appointments, commuting, and obligations, where’s the rest?
I know that given our hectic weekly schedules, the Sabbath is one day of the week during which it’s most convenient to have Adventist Youth and Adventist Junior Youth meetings, Sabbath school council meetings, elders’ meetings, rehearsals, concerts, vespers, not to mention such outreach activities as serving the homeless, visiting the sick and housebound, and witnessing in the park. But where’s the rest?
I know people who teach Sabbath school, help with the fellowship dinner (setting up and putting away), and visit a family or two on the way home, who, by the time they get home, don’t have much Sabbath left to rest.
The Sabbath, as with everything, has to be an experience of balance. We can’t live so fast and furious during the week that all we do is crash and burn once the Sabbath comes along. By the same token, we have to keep in mind Jesus, who often demonstrated that it’s lawful “to do good” on the Sabbath (Mark 3:4).
It’s up to us, therefore, to remember that the Sabbath was made for humanity as a change of pace—a day of rest, worship, and fellowship. The Sabbath is only 24 hours, so let’s remember to use them wisely.
Stephen Chavez is coordinating editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published August 23, 2012.