Let’s face it: The real reason I love being a Seventh-day Adventist is Sabbath. I mean, who wouldn’t appreciate a God-mandated day off every week? I think it’s time for Adventists to stop treating the Sabbath as the thing that makes us weird and start promoting it as one of the greatest ideas of all time!
I haven’t always felt so enthusiastic about God’s claim to an entire 24 hours every week. It can be hard to love the Sabbath when it creates problems at work or interferes with key social events (as it often did when I attended public high school). Perhaps my love for the Sabbath is a sign that I’ve spent too long working for church-related entities and have too many Adventist friends.
Children, I’ve found, rarely have a strong appreciation for the Sabbath. This is because children don’t work hard enough. It wasn’t until college that I began to truly relish God’s day of rest, gratefully putting away my books and papers as the sun went down on Friday.
Still, I mostly enjoyed Sabbaths growing up, despite what might seem a long list of don’ts. Sabbath meant family time: special Friday night suppers (which always included dessert!), nature walks, and games of Bible Lotto and charades—the story of Jael and Sisera being a perennial favorite for silent acting. Sabbath meant connecting with caring adults at our small church, where my brothers and I got involved early on: I was serving as Sabbath school secretary before age 12.
Now, as an adult, I see the Sabbath as the obvious solution to today’s hand-wringing over lack of “work-life balance.” No less an authority than God Himself has decreed that we can’t stay on the treadmill nonstop. The Fourth Commandment reminds us that we have value outside our jobs. So do the people who perform those menial tasks we consider beneath us. Even animals get to benefit from the Sabbath. We all enjoy rest together—at least, that’s how God meant it to be.
But the Sabbath isn’t just a vacation day. It’s a day of spiritual renewal—a day to reconnect with God and refocus on what matters. The Sabbath keeps us from gaining the whole world and losing our own souls.
How do people survive without the Sabbath? I sometimes wonder. The greatest thing about being an Adventist is that I’ve never had to find out.