Saturday, October 10, 2009

Worshiping the Sabbath vs Worshiping on the Sabbath

Guest post by Travis Claybrooks

Recently, we celebrated my oldest daughter, Abeni's 15th birthday. She was born October 2, 1994 and I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember all the details of the experience – the labor, the delivery, the incompetent nurses that didn't believe that she was-a comin' right now! I remember feeling real good as I tastied her with my kisses, touching her with my hands, hearing her extremely loud cry, smelling that newborn baby smell, and just seeing the miracle of something that, just a short while ago, was not.

Now, those of you who know me know that I'm not a big birthday person. In fact, I'm not a big holiday person at all. My pragmatic mind thinks birthdays are just one more way for me to get poorer helping someone else get richer. Anyway, being an effective long-distance parent is extremely difficult and I'm always trying to find ways to get and stay more closely connected to my kids. So, I've decided that one way I can do that is to be physically present on birthdays and make them much more of a celebration than I have in years past. And that's just what we did for Abeni last weekend. We drove from Shelton, Nebraska to Colorado Springs to throw Abeni a birthday party!

We had a whale of a time!

Abeni, and all of her friends, did too! Just seeing the sheer joy in their faces the whole weekend was great. It was a wonderful connection for us and I feel that our relationship grew significantly. We seem to be just a little bit closer.

As I was sitting in our hotel room, I began to think about the real significance of October 2.  I concluded that October 2, 2009 would have absolutely no significance in my life if October 2, 1994 had never happened. In fact, October 2, 1994 would have had no significance if the events of that particular early Sunday morning had never happened. For example, I have absolutely no recollection of what happened on the morning of October 1, 1994, not even 24 hours earlier.

This led me to a quite obvious but extremely significant conclusion. It's not October 2 that's significant but the event that happened on that day. It's the event that give the day its significance.

The Heart of the Matter

Sabbath... Reflecting on God's command to remember to keep the Sabbath day holy, I have come to some conclusions about my efforts as a “Sabbath-keeper.”  Let me share some of them with you:
  • While I have had an intellectual awareness of the events that give the Sabbath day its importance, I have never really made a practical connection between those events and my “Sabbath-keeping;”
  • Thus, I have primarily celebrated a day and not an event;
  • Celebrating a day and not an event is quite an empty experience. There's just not much to get excited about in simply celebrating a day of the week.
  • Therefore, to fill the emptiness of celebrating a day and not an event, and because I have never made a practical connection between the events that give the Sabbath day its importance, I have created a set of events that I do or do not do on the seventh-day (like going to a weekly religious meeting and not watching football) and called the sum total of those experiences “worship” and “keeping the Sabbath day holy;”
  • Because I have equated this contrived set of dos and don'ts with “worship” and since they in essence honor a day and not an event, I have concluded that I have been worshiping the Sabbath and not worshiping on the Sabbath. That makes the Sabbath a god;
  • I have concluded that this is why Jesus, in a particular conversation, had to explicitly say that He is Lord of the Sabbath;
And finally, I have concluded that I need to get a real-life understanding of the event(s) that give the Sabbath day its significance.

What do you think?


Travis, and his wife Gabriella, are the founders of of an exciting wellness ministry in Nebraska.  You may contact him via his Facebook profile. This article was originally posted on Facebook here.