8 January 2021  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

Is it wrong to go out and be happy instead of staying at home after church on a Sabbath?

Bored Sabbath-keeper

Dear Bored,

The Bible tells how one Sabbath Jesus and his disciples were out walking. They picked some grain to munch on—and of course, the churchmen, critical as they often are, immediately jumped on them. 

Jesus answer is marvelous, and tells you way more than the killjoys in many churches would: 

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:28

Too many Adventists think that the Sabbath is meant to be a time of miserable submission. It is, of course, wonderful to study the Bible on the Sabbath. But the Sabbath wasn’t designed to be boring and miserable as so many have made it, in constant fear that we might be doing the wrong thing. 

The Sabbath, he said, was made for us. For our benefit. For our mental, emotional, and physical rest. Imagine how hard people worked in biblical times, caring for crops or working in fields! They needed to stop for a day! Nowadays the rest we need is more mental and less physical. 

Have you ever considered doing something fun but then remembered that you have a lot to do, and then felt bad that you weren’t doing it? That’s the exact kind of thing the Sabbath was designed for: a God-given excuse not to be “productive.” 

By the way, Adventists have perpetrated one of the most egregious misinterpretations of Scripture by their use, out of context, of Isaiah 58:13, saying that it says you shouldn’t do “as you please” on the Sabbath. In fact, in context, the “doing as you please” is defined in verse 3: “You do as you please and exploit all your workers.” It’s not about having fun, but making your employees work while you relax!

So to answer your question directly: no, it is not wrong to have fun on the Sabbath! You should focus on doing things that connect you with other people, that strengthen and deepen your relationships (within the parameters of your local pandemic restrictions). You should do things that you might not have time for the rest of the week when you are working. Naturally, things that connect you to God are lovely: go outside and enjoy nature, read, go hiking and play with your dog or your kids or your siblings. The Sabbath is meant to be your favorite time of the week, not because you’re “supposed” to feel that way, but because you are enjoying the Sabbath so much by doing things that you love, you’re sad to see the sun go down on Saturday night. 

Aunt Sevvy

You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without real names. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.

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