The Confusion Over the Sabbath

church and Sabbath

Picture by PIRO4D – Pixabay

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion in regard to the Sabbath, though the bible isn’t at all unclear about it. It becomes worthwhile to look at some of the aspects of the Sabbath that are often not thought out.

In the book of Genesis, it is stated that God created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. (Genesis 2:2) It is from this that one of the biggest misconceptions comes; that the Sabbath, or day of rest, is for God. It only becomes a little clearer when we realize that God doesn’t rest. He is ‘on duty’ every second of every day, seven days a week. Unlike people, He never becomes weary.

If He didn’t need to rest, why does the bible say that he rested? This gives a hint of how brilliant God is. He knew that we, people, would need a day of rest out of every seven. Thus, the Sabbath came into being; a day of rest for men, not for God.

There is an implication here to makes a common disagreement between some churches immaterial. Some churches maintain that the Sabbath is Saturday. Others say that it is on Sunday. However, if the day of rest is for Man rather than for God, it really doesn’t make any difference which day out of the week is used as the Sabbath because the point of it isn’t the day, but the rest we need.

The fact is that the bible is clear in that God wants us to be able to relax from our labors. He knows that we need it. Although not in the bible, the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is true and for this reason, the bible tells us to “Remember the sabbath and keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)

So if the Sabbath isn’t for God, why are we told to keep it holy? This is important and it isn’t hard to understand. By keeping it holy, we are by all means supposed to relax and have fun, but without doing those things we know we should not do. The importance of this is especially clear when we remember that what might be work to one person can be relaxation to another.

Having a barbecue, playing a round of golf, enjoying a picnic are all examples of activities that could be considered to be work for some people and not for others. Each of these involves some effort, and yet many people find them relaxing and rewarding. As long as none of these are done in a way that is sinful, and as long as a person feels that they are not actually ‘work’, they are holy, because they are in accordance with the behavior God wishes us to have. When was the last time you thought of having a picnic as a holy activity? As you can see, it can be.

Put in another way, God wants us to take a day each week to relax and have fun, to play if you will, but without violating any of his rules when we do this. Yes, it can also mean going to church and having fellowship with other Christians, but again, this is for man and not for God. We should be worshiping God every day, not just one out of every seven. Also, in a dynamic and lively church, the services can definitely be fun as well as instructional. They should be uplifting, in fact. Another thing to think of is; does the pastor work when delivering the sermon? A good pastor would probably answer, “No”. The work comes before the sermon, when the sermon is prepared. Thus, delivering the sermon wouldn’t be work.

Still, the point of it all is that the Sabbath is for us and not simply as a time of worship to God. Indeed, it shows how well God knows us and how much He loves us as He is so adamant about making sure that we take time for relaxation and fun. He wants us to have playtime and it is important enough that it is mentioned in the second book of the bible, as well as elsewhere.

There is a trap here, though. Besides the warnings not to judge one another, found many times in the bible, we should also not question why a person is working on what we perceive as the Sabbath. In the first place, we don’t know what day of the week that person uses for relaxing as God has decreed. In the second, we don’t know what that other person finds relaxing. If we catch ourselves criticizing a brother or sister because they are working on the Sabbath, it is we who are sinning.

I’m quite mindful of the fact that to me, sitting in my garden and pulling weeds is fun and relaxing. To another person, that might represent hard work. To me, watering the flowerbeds at church is enjoyable. I’m the groundskeeper at church and it is part of my job, which implies work. However, because I enjoy doing it, it isn’t work to me and I can do it on any day of the week, including the Sabbath, without working.

Have you ever had poor opinions of someone else because they appear to work on the Sabbath?

  • Comments

    1. Profile photo of Sandy KS
      Sandy KS

      I have never had a poor opinion of someone working on the sabbath. I always figured f they were working they had their reasons. It is not my place to judge. I’ll let God handle all of that.

      1. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
        Rex Trulove Post author

        This is very true and I think that a lot of the confusion comes from people who don’t have a clear understanding of what Christianity is. Lack of understanding can easily mean that some people will make assumptions that aren’t supported by the facts.

      1. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
        Rex Trulove Post author

        Thank you. It also explains why I refuse to get drawn into the debate over whether the Sabbath should be observed on Saturday or Sunday. Some people might not understand, though, when I say, “Who cares?” LOL

      1. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
        Rex Trulove Post author

        There are too many important considerations to focus on one that has no importance, though. 🙂

      2. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
        Rex Trulove Post author

        The biggest pity of all is that if Christians read and reflected on the bible, which the bible even tells us that we should do, the arguments would be meaningless and would indeed bring us all together. To quote a saying, and I have no idea where it came from originally, “Nobody ever wins an argument.” Debating has its worth, but arguing serves no useful purpose. It just causes animosity.

    2. Profile photo of
      Jacky Hughes

      Many people, Pastors included, cannot rest on Sunday. However, here the problem is that “shift”becomes a priority over church.Then people wonder why they are tired and not growing spiritually.

      1. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
        Rex Trulove Post author

        This is true, and there aren’t nearly enough good pastors; those who aren’t afraid to call a sin a sin and who honestly strive to help, to give and to guide. For that matter, Christians need to know that God comes first, period, before any other consideration. That is every day, not just one out of seven. In places like America, too many Christians don’t fully appreciate the fact that in many countries, people aren’t allowed to openly worship God, Jesus or to go to church. Not realizing what we have here and not honestly appreciating it, or listening to the media and the government fosters spiritual apathy. In such a case, I tend to remind Christians that God wants people who are hot, not just warm and not cold. The bible is also plain that between warm and cold, He prefers cold, too. At least they are merely lost and need guidance. The warm ones are on the very dangerous middle ground, living for both the world and for God. One cannot serve two masters.

    3. Profile photo of Ople Dulnuan
      Ople Dulnuan

      Christianity has many denominations, at some point, even some call each other as a cult. Some are so conservative, others are so liberal. Christians differs in standards and that is mostly influenced by the church they attend.
      But in the end; faith , trust and belief is a personal thing, it is between the person and God.

      The problem sometimes is that, some Christians see a reminder or a concern from a brethren as judgement. And instead of seeing what they should learn from it, they just close their hearts.

    4. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
      Rex Trulove Post author

      There are many denominations, but they are more alike than they are unalike. They all follow the bible and Jesus. The cults are those that follow teachings of men rather than those of Christ, but who try to say that they are Christian anyway. The main difference between the denominations is in delivery of the message rather than the message itself. Some people like somber services, others like joyous ones, but the words in the bible don’t change.

      Here in our little town of fewer than a thousand people, we have a Catholic church, a Baptist church, a Methodist church, a Church of God, a Lutheran church and an Assembly of God church. I’m a member of the Assembly of God church. The pastors from all of these churches regularly meet and the churches all have joint community events. Each delivers their sermons in different ways, but they all come from the bible.

      As for feeling that reminders of what the bible says is being judgmental, that is an issue in the individual’s own heart that they must work out. The truth is that when I preach or give testimony or give a reminder, it is every bit as much for me as it is for anyone else. What is written in the bible is meant for everyone, not just for some, and God didn’t give us the option of picking and choosing what we would and would not follow. In fact, Jesus taught that it isn’t arbitrary; a person either follows the whole bible or they follow none of it. He taught that there is no middle ground. It also should be remembered by Christians that any judgment doesn’t come from other people, it will come from Jesus. So if some Christians become concerned about a reminder and think it is judgmental, the best way for them to handle it is to see what the bible says and to pray about it.

    5. Profile photo of N Sri Naga Jyothi
      N Sri Naga Jyothi

      It is true that, we must worship GOD every day not that only on Sunday going to church and pray. We can worship god wherever we are, at home or at office or in the bus or anywhere, just close your eyes and pray god. Sunday we can hear the god word’s in the church or read bible for a while in the church.

      1. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
        Rex Trulove Post author

        This is so very true. I feel the same way about a number of “special” days that were set aside here in the US. For instance, we have mother’s day; one specific day every spring. Back when my mother was alive, I used to take her a bouquet of flowers or give her a gift nearly any time of the year and tell her, “Happy Mother’s Day.” One day I did that and she said, “Honey, it isn’t mother’s day.” (I gave her the gift in December.) I told her, “If I have to wait for only one day a year to tell my mother that I love her, I must not love her very much.”

        Likewise, if people only praise God and worship him one day a week, they must not love Him very much.

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