Sabbath Joy

Sabbath Joy

Apr 27, 2015

Sabbath Joy

by Dave Alldredge, Seattle Area SDB Church

It was the annual church camping trip. The Sabbath afternoon weather was beautiful: the lake water glistening in the sun; the temperature, over 100° F, was unusually warm for Northern Idaho. I was part of a group of men sitting on the beach discussing how God was working in our lives. Soon we became very uncomfortable and the discussion quickly changed to where we should move to cool off and continue our talk. About 25 feet from shore there was a ski dock. One of the group suggested we go to the dock where we could sit and dangle our feet in the water, keep cool, and continue our discussion. The group liked the suggestion and so we did.

joy word - isolated text in vintage wood letterpress printing blocks

joy word – isolated text in vintage wood letterpress printing blocks

That evening, just before vespers, the men who sat on the dock that afternoon were asked to come to the pastor’s tent where the pastor asked why we were on the dock. After explaining our activity, the pastor disciplined the men for being poor examples to the youth. He said by swimming to the ski dock we were breaking the Sabbath. The pastor counselled us to be sure to pray for forgiveness of our sin and to apologize before the group at Vespers.

This is the event that caused me to question my Sabbath belief and to look to God for understanding of what Sabbath was really about. All my life I have been told Sabbath was to be a joy, something to look forward to. But where was this joy? The reality was Sabbath was a day of “Thou Shalt Nots.” The focus was almost entirely on what you were not allowed to do. As I was seeking God for the real understanding of Sabbath, one word —joy — kept coming to my mind. Joy: as we were taught in Sabbath School, singing we had it deep down in our hearts. Joy: as we were taught “Jesus, Others, You.” It finally became clear to me: Sabbath Joy is about Jesus, Others and You.


Imagine being present in the beginning when God created the Heavens and Earth. How awesome it would beto see it, to experience His power. It would be exhausting just to watch. When the Lord finished His creation, He declared the Sabbath in Genesis 2:1-3, as a blessed day of rest. Do you think it was because He was tired from His labor? I don’t think so. From the very beginning God loved us His children. His desire is to be in communion with us, to be with us. He loves us so much; He created a special day set aside for us to be with him in a special way all day long. What a blessing it is to know God loves me so much He has set aside Sabbath as that special day to be with Him.


If having a day set aside to be with the Lord is not enough, Sabbath with my brothers and sisters is a bonus. What a joy it is to meet together each Sabbath morning to lift up on high the name of Jesus. It’s the joy of opening God’s word together and learning how to be more like Him; the joy of fellowship and friendship through sharing a meal together. Very few people from my church live in the neighborhood where our building is located. For most of us, Sabbath is the only time we see each other. We have fellowship lunch every Sabbath and many stay there most of the day. God knew we would need this bond with our fellow Christians and instructed us not to neglect meeting together in Hebrews 10:24-25.


As our creator, God knew we are ambitious people and would need a special day to set aside our normal daily activities and focus on Him. I believe this is why God gave the one Sabbath “Thou Shalt Not.” As part of the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:8-11, God commands that neither we nor anyone in our household is to work. Unlike the Lord, we do need this physical rest. The older I get the more I come to love this Sabbath Joy. How wonderful to know each Friday evening I get 24 hours to set aside all the busyness of life and focus on God and Family. The blessedness of this physical rest prepares us to face the challenges of the new week.

I must admit it was a real shock the day the pastor called us men on the carpet for “breaking the Sabbath”. However, I praise God for that day. It caused me to set aside all I was taught by man and focus on God’s Sabbath Joy. I pray everyone looks forward to Sabbath each week as a special day to be with Jesus, Others and You.

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