I just received an email question from a brother who works at a hospital in the maintenance department, but wants to follow the Torah by observing the Sabbath (Shabbat). His work schedule was just changed, so that he now has to work on Friday evenings at the beginning of the Sabbath. He asked me whether his working on the Sabbath fell under the category of what the Bible calls “doing good on the Sabbath.”
Here was my response to him.
When Yeshua asked the question, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days…” (Mark 3:4; 6:9) it was not in reference to one’s employment, but to miraculously healing a sick person on the Sabbath. Big difference.
Whether one works on the Sabbath because one’s job requires it or not is simply a matter of one’s level of obedience and faith. I believe that if you resolve to obey YHVH and his clear commandments about not violating the Sabbath, and then take the necessary steps of faith NOT to work on the Sabbath, YHVH will bless you with the answer to your problem, so that you’ll not have violate his commands (called sin, 1 John 3:4) by working on the Sabbath. I’ve seen miraculous doors open up for people many times who have resolved not to work on the Sabbath. Be it according to your faith. So that I wouldn’t have to face the difficult situation of breaking the Sabbath and biblical feasts by working on them is why I chose to be self employed more than 35 years ago instead of the pursuing a career in the corporate world upon graduating college. Face it, this world isn’t a friendly to those of us who want to obey YHVH.
One more thing. Please keep this in mind. To the degree we obey YHVH we will be blessed in all areas of our lives. To the degree we don’t, regardless of our excuses, we won’t be blessed. This is a simple spiritual law of cause and effect.
I in no way judge or condemn you. These are difficult issues that many, if not most, people struggle with regularly. YHVH is merciful and gracious and gives us time and space to come into alignment with his perfect will. It doesn’t always happen overnight, but we must be taking steps in that direction.
Let’s keep in mind the clear biblical commands regarding observing the Sabbath in Exodus 20:8–11):
- We are to remember (i.e. not to forget) the Sabbath day.
- We are to keep the Sabbath holy or set-apart (i.e. not to profane it by doing our regular secular activities).
- We are to rest (i.e. not to work) on the Sabbath.
- We are not to labor (i.e. engage in any work) on the Sabbath (i.e. doing our employment or laborious work).
It’s really that simple.