Employment dilemma;work or worship?
Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV) :
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
In order to fully observe the Sabbath, you must be willing and able to keep off work from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. In order to hold a job and provide for your family, people are required by their employers to work on certain days which will inevitably conflict with the Sabbath day that God has set apart for his people in the scriptures. This is a very troubling dilemma that many will face if they choose to observe Sabbath. This dilemma will often times create barriers in people’s minds to make them bend for work and ignore temporarily the Sabbath truth because it would simply be too inconvenient for them. For great distress and fear, many fail to prioritize between providing for their families and obeying God when those two things conflict with each other.Most , especially the young generation have experienced this dilemma and know how hard it is to deal with. Its sympathizing how hard they struggle with this especially those who are the sole breadwinners in their homes. Many can not for the life imagine that God would want them to not provide for their families and subject their parents and siblings to risky states because of their belief in the fourth commandment.Read Also:1 Timothy 5:8
“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
“Worse than an infidel? So if I provide for my family and forsake the truth Sabbath, what does that make me? It would make me an infidel at worst. But if I keep the Sabbath and forsake my duties to provide for my own family, then I am worse than an infidel. So what good does it do you to keep the true Sabbath if you forsake your duty to provide for your own family which would deny the faith altogether.” These and many more are the persona questions that leave many torn in the decision making.
1 Samuel 15:22
But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
Throughout history, God’s people have been caught in a conflict: They’ve had to choose between obedience to what they believed was their Sovereign’s will on the one hand, and the demands of the physical culture in which they lived, on the other. Today, Christians who espouse the seventh-day Sabbath, face the same dilemma. Many jobs require work on Saturday. Many social, athletic, and academic events occur on Friday night or Saturday — the day Sabbath keepers believe God set aside at Creation for humanity, the day sanctified in the fourth commandment, the day upheld by the teaching and example of Jesus and the Apostles.
The root issues are these: Do we really believe our Father’s will is for us to rest on the seventh day? And if we do, is our desire to please Him the guiding force in our lives?
Christians are called to take up the cross of Christ, to put His will ahead of everything, to love Him more than they love even their own lives (Luke 6:46, 14:26). But when it comes to financial loss, reduced lifestyle, or fewer social opportunities, we often bend the Sabbath to conform to our culture. Perhaps the truth is that we believe in the Sabbath merely as a nice theological concept, but not as something to suffer for.
From the time the serpent tempted Eve until now, individuals and groups have been severely tested on their beliefs. Would they put their faith in, and love for, God ahead of all else? Consider a few examples of people willing to make great sacrifices to obey God’s will.
- Joseph refused to commit adultery, though it meant displeasing his employer, losing his job, and ending up in jail. What if he had said, “I’d better go along with what my mistress wants, or I could lose my job”?
- Moses chose to stand up for his people rather than live in the luxury of Egypt. He spent the rest of his life (80 years) in the wilderness herding sheep, and then “herding” people, who frequently did not appreciate him.
- Daniel could have gone to a private room to pray where his enemies couldn’t see him, but he was not about to let them think he was compromising his devotion to Yahweh.
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have said, “Boy, we won’t be any good to God if we’re dead! Think of all the people we can influence for Him if we live. We can just pray to Him while we’re bowing down before Nebuchadnezzar’s statue.”
- John the Baptist proclaimed the sins of the people – even of the king. He wasn’t popular with the royal court, ended up in prison, and then lost his head. What if he had said “I’d better tone down a bit because I can’t do any good for God in prison.” Jesus said there was none greater than John.
- Peter refused to stop preaching the name of Jesus, though he was jailed and eventually martyred. What if he had said, “I’ve got a family to support. Surely God wouldn’t want them to suffer”?
We may not agree with all the beliefs for which these people were persecuted. The important fact is that they really lived what they professed and were willing to suffer, gladly or not, for their convictions. We live in a nation where freedom of religion is a fundamental right. Consequently, most of us have suffered little for practicing what we believe. But then there’s the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, which is so out-of-step with the mainstream of Christianity that dominates the Western world. Do we who espouse the seventh day really believe it is part of God’s will for His people who have been saved by His grace? Do we really believe God wants us to rest on the seventh day? Do we really believe we deny our love for Jesus when we don’t do what He says?
The people mentioned above were willing to pay an exorbitant price for being out of step with the mainstream of their day. But far be it from us to deprive our children of any opportunities because of our Sabbath conviction! Far be it from us to risk financial hardship due to the seventh day! Far be it from us to suffer economic or social loss to serve the Savior who gave His life for us! And if we aren’t willing to suffer a small loss for Christ, how do we think we could ever suffer a great loss, as did those mentioned above?
Probably many of us have not suffered great loss for his faith. Most of us have never gone to bed hungry because of their faith – but I hope we would be willing to. We have never seen our children in pain for lack of medicine because we wouldn’t take a job that required us to work on the Sabbath – but I pray that we be willing to. We have never gone through a winter without heat because we wouldn’t work on Sabbath – but I hope we would be willing to.
It is easy to pontificate about these things when we’re not faced with suffering. But that doesn’t change the truth that, if we really believe Jesus calls us to do something, we should be willing to suffer for it. Unfortunately, too many of us (including me) are more influenced by the values of this world – happiness, physical comfort, financial security, pleasure, acceptance – than we are by the values of the world to come.
From Of course, Jesus said that acts of mercy and pulling oxen out of ditches were entirely permissible on the Sabbath. Each individual must decide for himself where working on the Sabbath leaves off, and taking care of an emergency begins. The same principle applies to deciding how to obey every other command of God: honoring parents, loving God above all, not coveting, being merciful, loving one another, etc. Would we take a job to feed our hungry children, if the job required us to lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, or sign a confession to things we didn’t believe? Then why would we take a job requiring us to work on the day we say we believe is God’s Sabbath?
Most of us will probably never appear before a religious or governmental body and be forced to choose between denying Christ, and death. But in a real sense, we all appear before the world every day. And by our actions we proclaim whether we love God more than anything else. We tell the world whether we really trust Him to take care of us according to His will, or whether we are willing to compromise what we believe, to avoid sacrifice and pain in this physical realm.
The martyrs mentioned above were willing to suffer for theological concepts, for prayer time, for bowing down in a certain time and place, for signing a piece of paper. Oh that we who say we believe Jesus wants us to observe the Sabbath, would count it joy to suffer some loss, some pain, some missed opportunities in this life, because we are wholly committed to serving the Savior who died that we might live for all eternity!
Choosing work or Sabbath is a personal decision. It is an issue between you and God. Whenever you are faced with such a trial, always take it to God in prayer before anything else. If possible,do a fast to draw closer to him and understand his will. Tell God that it is your will to follow his word in the scripture and it is also your will to provide for my own family. Ask Him to provide the way as you stick to what He commandments.