Skip to main content

Why I Keep the Sabbath, As a Non-Jew

Audrey is a passionate writer who covers a wide array of topics, including film/tv reviews, opinion-based pieces, and relationship advice.


A Disclaimer

Having been a person of faith for many years, I have experimented adding different facets to my religious practice, such as prayer, fasting, scripture reading, scripture meditation, etc. Recently I have started keeping the sabbath. I would like to explain why I do this as someone who is neither Jewish nor a Seventh Day Adventist. I also must give a quick disclaimer: I do not consider myself very religious at all, but very spiritual. This is because I do not feel that anything I do or don’t do will earn my way into heaven, which is what a religion teaches. Instead, I believe that Christ paid for all my penalties on the cross so I get a free pass into heaven. I enjoy discussing theology, and this article entertains some viewpoints of this type. Still, I am not a theologian nor am I an expert on any spiritual matters as pertaining to Christianity. I also recognize that there are many diverse viewpoints on this matter from all different religious backgrounds. I welcome diversity of thought and respectful conversation about these issues. I hope to be met with the same tolerance as I exhibit, though this is not always the case.

What is Keeping the Sabbath?

I am not sure if my take on this is historically accurate or even lined up with judaic law, but I believe keeping the sabbath is not doing normal work on Saturday, the sabbath day, if at all possible. For example, I am a stay-at-home mom and I sell cosmetics on the side. So, on Saturday I avoid doing my normal work, such as washing clothes, mopping the floor, cooking, or selling makeup. I keep my head clear on Saturday by focusing on things I love rather than my to-do list: getting takeout, going to the park, spending time with my husband and sons, and writing or crafts. This does not mean that if my son gets a stomach virus and vomits everywhere that I will leave it sitting on the floor. I would absolutely mop if that were the case, but the idea, in my opinion, of keeping the sabbath is simply making it a day of rest that is purposefully different than the other six days of my week. Historically, Jews had a sabbath dinner after nightfall on Friday evening. The sabbath lasted until Saturday at sundown. They could work on sabbath if someone’s life was in danger. But other than that, they needed to lay low, relax, and spend time with family, as well as think about their faith and grow in that realm. To my jewish friends, if this is not completely correct, please help me understand better in the comments.

What Are the Benefits of Keeping the Sabbath?

I personally feel more relaxed and separated from my everyday life, which is refreshing. Without a break for a day, I feel like all my days run together. It’s also a cool goal to work for on Thursdays and Fridays. I work extra hard around the house to be free on Saturdays. It’s freeing and I feel like I get a day off. Spiritually, keeping the sabbath helps you have a time to pray, fast, read, watch, or listen to spiritual content and grow your faith instead of spending time doing other things. To take it to a deeper theological level, keeping the sabbath is one of the ten commandments, so it is especially important for Jews or people of other faiths who believe we are still under those laws and expected to abide by them for holiness.

Why Modern Christians Don't Keep the Sabbath

Most of the reasoning I have heard as to why today’s Christians don’t keep the sabbath (other than Seventh Day Adventists) is that we as Christians are no longer under the law, so we don’t need to abide by the ten commandments. Another reason people give is that now our relaxing day is Sunday, and lots of people still work on Saturdays. People use Saturday as a day to get caught up from the week, and they prefer to rest on Sunday. Saturday is used for chores, errands, and even overflow work from their regular jobs. Still more Christians today don’t know why they don’t try to chill out on Saturdays, they just simply don’t keep the sabbath and that’s that.

A Christian Argument for Keeping the Sabbath

In regards to the reasoning above, the idea that we are no longer under the law so we don’t need to follow the ten commandments is a misunderstanding of scripture in my opinion. Which of the ten commandments are expendable? Don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t disrespect your parents, don’t bear false witness (lie)? It seems to me those are all things we should still do. Nowadays the commandment of keeping the sabbath as a day of rest is overlooked and ignored. It’s seen as a given that the sabbath commandment is a freebie that you can do whatever you want with. I, however, think that the ten commandments are pleasing to God, so I want to fulfill them as much as I can, even though I do not believe that following them to perfection (which is impossible) will award anyone eternal life in heaven. I follow them as a framework for my life because I want to make God happy after everything he has done for me.

Other Christians argue as mentioned above that the day of rest is now Sunday, but that is only a recent change. The Catholic church changed the day of rest to Sunday in the year 321 AD. If you venture down the Seventh Day Adventist eschatology rabbit hole, you will see that their whole end-times prophecy and interpretation of the book of Revelation hinges on this fact. (I do not agree with the Adventists’ end times interpretations). When we look at history far before 321 AD, the sabbath, or the last day of the week, was always the day of rest. Furthermore, in the first chapters of Genesis, we see that God ordained the sabbath as a day of rest from work from the very onset of creation, however you believe it happened, whether through God-supervised evolution over millions of years or the literal seven day creation account. Even with the young-earth creationist theory (believing the seven day creation account), the ordaining of the seventh day as a rest day by God occurred many years before Moses received the ten commandments, so the sabbath predates the law. Sunday is not the last day of the week, it’s the first. God ordained Saturday for a reason and if he thinks it’s a good idea, I want to take part in it as much as possible. The final nail in the coffin of this argument for me, however, is the fact that Jesus was killed and buried on a Friday, and rested in the tomb all day Saturday, and rose again on Sunday. Nothing with God is a coincidence, and this is no different. I believe that keeping the sabbath is a way to honor God, even though we are free from the condemnation of the law.

A Closing Thought

Do I think I will be cut off from God or punished if I don’t keep a sabbath? Absolutely not. Am I obsessed with keeping it? Also no. I simply want to do things God’s way. He created several concepts that he obviously thought were a good idea, marriage, procreation, agriculture, and keeping the sabbath are just a few. I want to do things as much God’s way as possible. Also, getting away from the spiritual aspect of it, it is simply nice and refreshing to have a free day at the end of the week. Maybe God was on to something.

© 2021 Audrey Lancho

Related Articles