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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Religious Conflict

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What if I believe in keeping Saturday holy and the rest of my family doesn't?


Steve Answers:

What a challenging opportunity! (That doesn't mean it will be easy.)

You probably know that some families who do believe in keeping Saturday holy actually don't do what they believe. I respect you for being true to your convictions.

I would think that the fourth commandment has special meaning for you. Looking at it in sections would give us something like this: "Remember to observe the Sabbath because I have set it apart as holy." The first key word is "remember." Evidently it's possible to forget! People have throughout the centuries. In fact, God's people have. And if someone tells you the seventh-day Sabbath is only for the Jews, the word "remember" shows it didn't start with the Israelites on Mount Sinai. It actually started at the beginning of this world (see Genesis 2:1-3).

God is the one who made the Sabbath. Our role is to be part of what He considers special. It's like getting a present from God and deciding not to open it. I'm clueless as to why anyone would skip that.

"There are six days in the week for you to earn a living. But the seventh day of the week belongs to the Lord your God." Even "holy Janes" (or Joes) have to earn a living. For teens, that usually means the full time job of going to school as well as even part time work. Most of us are used to doing that five days a week and then having the weekend to either kick back or simply do our own thing. I really believe that all of our time belongs to God, but God tells us to take a break each week. That can help prevent us from becoming workaholics as well as giving focus to our vital relationship with God.

"On that day you are to do no work—you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your animals or any aliens living among you." Sabbath isn't just for you. It's for all humans (and even the animals!). Parents are the ones to share this with their children, but it sounds like in your situation it's somewhat the opposite—you get to share it with the rest of your family. One of these days you will have a family of your own (even if it's a one-person family). You will be able to set the tone for your family at that time. For now, you're living in your parents' house, which includes respecting their choices as the leaders of your home (notice that the very next commandment deals with honoring your parents). I don't know of any children who observe the Sabbath while the parents don't (unless the grandparents help them observe it). But it's quite common for teens to begin doing things separately from their parents. After all, you're becoming independent.

"Because in six days, I, the Lord your God, created the earth, the sky, the seas and everything in them, and on the seventh day I rested in the joy of having made it all." Here's the real reason for the Sabbath—God made it. In other words, the Sabbath provides a reminder for us each week that God is God, which includes that He made us in the first place. That becomes extra meaningful when you feel worthless (Hey, get a grip! God made you; you're not junk!). Where are you from? What is your home country, and who are your ancestors? If you go back far enough, are you from Europe? Africa? Asia? Go back farther. Are you from a glob of slime on some ocean shore, or do you go back to God as your original father (Luke 3:38) and heaven as your original home? Remembering where you're from corrects your perspective on where you're going.

"That's why I blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy, so you can rest and rejoice with Me." Here's what to do on Sabbath. God reserves the time to celebrate with you. Will you stiff him by not showing up? Or are you ready to take a break (rest) each week to party (celebrate) with God?

It's certainly possible to party with only God. But sometimes a party is actually more fun with a bunch of people. Hey, that's what church is about. That might lead you to make your church more lively! If your family isn't observing Sabbath, you might get more of a Sabbath focus with your church family than with your blood family. That's what my mom did as a teen.

I had the advantage of growing up in a family that celebrated the Sabbath. As a result, most Sabbaths were already planned for me. It sounds like you'll mature faster than I did, at least when it comes to making the Sabbath your choice. I cruised for a number of years. You're deciding already what Sabbath means to you, and you're taking the responsibility to make it happen now.

Keep tapping into the blessing God has for you with the Sabbath. And when it's a great experience for you, won't others (including your family) want a piece of the action?

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