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The Sabbath Blog

Are You Really Keeping the Sabbath Holy?

Are You Really Keeping the Sabbath Holy?
Creede Hinshaw, a retired Methodist minister, recently wrote in the Albany Herald of his admiration for Herbert Blomstedt, the conductor laureate of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Blomstedt, you see, is a Sabbath-keeper who honors the fourth commandment to refrain from secular labor from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.

Hinshaw shares that while Blomstedt chooses not to rehearse on the Sabbath, he is willing to conduct an orchestral performance on Sabbath since he sees the concert as a joyful expression of his faith in God. The writer recognizes that some will criticize the conductor, suggesting he is fooling himself and dishonoring the Sabbath.

In response to this line of thinking, Hinshaw writes, “Mr. Blomstedt is to be commended for his effort to reason and pray his way through what it means to take Sabbath seriously. The fact that he is trying to sort out how to honor God and the 4th commandment places him in a slim minority. Far too many otherwise religious people blithely go through their Sabbaths without the least bit of examination of what it means to keep the Sabbath.”

Regardless of what we might personally feel about Blomstedt conducting a concert on Sabbath, wouldn't everyone do well to examine their own Sabbath activities and prayerfully determine whether they are truly keeping Sabbath? Here are four probing questions you can prayerfully ask yourself to help determine if your activities really honor God's Sabbath.

1. Do my activities safeguard my relationship with God? The Sabbath protects our friendship with the Creator. When the Lord says, “Remember the Sabbath day,” we are, in fact, to remember Him.

2. Am I ceasing from secular labor on God’s rest day? Working for profit or pleasure on the Sabbath is self-focused, not God-honoring. We should set aside our occupations and give this time to healthful rest, worship, and unselfish deeds.

3. Will I place myself where I can more clearly hear God’s voice? While we should seek to listen to the Lord every day, the Sabbath is a special time. Attending church, fellowshipping with other believers, spending time in nature, and participating in spiritually uplifting events will draw us closer to Jesus.

4. Are my activities reflecting how Christ kept the Sabbath?
Jesus was not inactive on the seventh day. In fact, there are many instances in which the Savior relieved suffering of others. Sabbath can be a day to visit the sick, the lonely, and the imprisoned.

Creede Hinshaw’s final thoughts are important—“Is it time for a fresh appraisal of what it means to keep that day holy? Such an appraisal can be very rewarding.” We invite you to go deeper—here's an uplifting, helpful presentation about keeping the Sabbath holy.
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