Sabbath or Stumble

by Fred Alcain on July 29, 2022


“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord , and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 58:13-14)


Growing up a Seventh Day Adventist I thought I had this Sabbath thing down pat.  To summarize in a sentence, “don’t do anything or having anything done for you from Friday night sunset to Saturday night sunset.”  Simple and easy.  But it wasn’t.  All our food needed to be cooked before Friday sunset...we couldn’t even go down the street to 7-11 cause that meant we were causing other people to work.  Chores were done, no TV watching, nothing...but it’s all I ever knew, so as binding as this ritual was, I believed that our ritualistic actions, or lack of action in this case, was considered sacred and holy thus pleasing to God.

I’m grateful for the disciplines I gleaned off this time of my life.  While I currently have a greater understanding of who God is and what He has required of me in terms of the Sabbath, it’s still an act of obedience and holiness that continues to be sharpened.


I confess. I’m terrible with Sabbath’s.   My imperfect definition is it’s a time for me to stop doing the things I don’t like doing because those are the things that drain me.  

But the Sabbath wasn’t created for me to rest.  It was created to refocus and recalibrate to the holiness of God. It was created to embrace the joy of the Creator.  It was created to keep my feet from stumbling.

It’ll sound very legalistic, but in order for me to do all that and honor God, the Lord of the Sabbath day, I need to set criteria of what can be done and what can’t.  

First thing I need to do is identify what draws me closer to my Creator; and nothing draws me closer to Him than remembering what I’m grateful for:

  1. Family 
  2. Food
  3. Music

In contrast, what are the things that distract and distance me from being in communion with God and cause my feet to break the Sabbath:

  1. Tiredness
  2. Incompetency
  3. Hypocrisy

#1 is an easy fix.  Go to sleep!  Put the phone away, turn off Sportscenter.  Simple.  #2 & 3 however are much harder.  Harder because it means my heart and attitude need an adjustment.   People will always fall short of my expectation.  But that’s not necessarily a “them” problem, it’s a “me” problem.  What takes my eyes off of Jesus and moves Him to the edge of my existence is when I take my eyes off of Him.  Trust God, agape people.  People will fail, God never will.  Put my trust in Him, learn to love with His love, than 2 & 3 become much more manageable.

Stopping is not a Sabbath.  Taking a break is not a Sabbath.  Sabbath-ing is a time for me to refresh, refuel and refocus my eyes on the holiness of the Lord of the Sabbath.  Easier said than done, but fatal if not followed.


Jesus, I choose to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.  Not for my rest, but for Your glory.  Not for my sake, but for Your delight.  I pray You keep my feet from stumbling as I commit to Your ways which are higher and Your plan which is greater.  Amen


Previous Page