“The meeting is moved to 5:10 pm,” my junior colleague hesitated for a moment, “this coming Friday. Don’t you need to leave before that time?”
I took a deep breath and answered, “Yes.” I paused. “But perhaps, I can stay for a while. The meeting would only last for 20 minutes, right?” I can leave after that, I thought. A few minutes later I received an email. The meeting is moved to 6:00 pm. The sun would set at 5:20 pm.
In my workplace, everybody knows that I am a Sabbath-keeper. On my first day on the job, I informed my boss that I could not work starting sundown Friday until sundown Saturday. Whenever anybody asks why, I explain that because I believe the day belongs to God. Then I go on explaining about the Sabbath. For me whenever a question regarding my faith pop up it’s an avenue to witness. And I always have a ready answer for those.
What does it take for an Adventist working in a secular environment and to stand for his or her faith? A lot! I had lost so many opportunities. I declined to attend seminars and conferences held on Saturdays. I refused many parties and wedding invitations from friends simply because I have “to rest and go to church on the Sabbath.” I am not often asked about the issue of Sabbath and food. I seldom see curious eyes looking at my plate or watching what I am looking at the internet. Many ears are listening to the words I utter and the manner I speak them. My dress, my eyes, my hair, my every movement are always under scrutiny. For the rest of the world, I am a religious geek.
Talking of separation from the world!
But it matters not to me what the world thinks. The hardest part is to hear the ridicule from someone in the church. It is disheartening whenever someone tells me “She’s too fanatic about the Sabbath!” I don’t understand why they tell me I am cautious in my Sabbath-keeping. It has been my practice since I was young. Although I was not born into the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the day of the Lord is and has always been a special occasion and should be kept holy by not going my “own ways”. It is a simple, “thus saith the Lord.” Period!
Now the question comes into my mind, are we supposed to keep the Sabbath day or to keep it holy? What’s the difference? The first is devoid of holiness. The second is a relationship with the Holy One.
Recently, I made some retrospection on why I joined the Seventh-day Adventist church. Prior to 1991, I was a very devout Catholic, reading the Bible and keeping all the teachings of my church. I was OK with that until I revisited the Ten Commandments. Then, I searched for the true church. God led me to His church.
I joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church because I believe in its doctrines. I believe in the truth it teaches. But above that, I believe in the One who gave those doctrines. His word for me is the only and true credible source. It is a guard against falsehood. Whatever that is not a “thus saith the Lord”, I reject. I refuse to go against the dictates of my conscience. And because of that, conflict arises both in and out of the church.
Perhaps that is how it should be. When we follow the simple words of the Lord, we must meet the hatred of many. Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) This sword is His word.
If finally we must be saved, we have to make a conscious decision to obey God no matter what. Even if it cost us all that we have. We must remember that He is our Father and we are His children, sanctified and purified by no other than the blood of His one and only dear Son.
Friday came. I woke up with a decision made up in my mind. I would not go to the meeting, although it is an important one. Even if I lose my job, there are more important meetings than that. I will meet with my Father – the Majesty of heaven. I said my morning prayer and read my Bible, then went to work.
It’s sundown. I have peace in my heart as knelt on my bedside. “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)
Rofeamor P. Obena