How to Handle Events on the Sabbath

Another question similar to this week’s or last week, depending on when you’re listening to the most recent episode and that’s from Margot, I believe I pronounced that right. Poplasky, cool name. Let me know if we did that right. And you commented on our Seven Day Family course, which if you guys don’t know the Seven Day Family, you can see it at familyteams.com. We actually can get the e-course itself, the platform has an awesome comment section where people ask questions. You can read old comments from people who have gone through it. Ask the same questions. We answer. It’s fun, but we want to bring one to the, to the podcast cause it’s a relevant. So you said, “How do you handle sporting activities or extended family gatherings or birthday parties that take place on the Sabbath? When do you make accommodations and when do you say no? And what are your guiding principles?”

That’s a really good question. We probably both have different guiding principles. So let’s both answer that Jeremy, I would say our family, I feel like having honored Sabbaths for five, six, seven years now. I feel like at first we were really, we cared more about this question and I feel like I don’t want this come off … like I just, we just don’t overthink it. It’s just like, if we want to go, we go. If we feel like it, and if we don’t want to go, we don’t go in the sense of just, is it filling? Is it restful? Is it? I feel like here’s another way to put it. Having honored Sabbath enough, now we can most easily identify the spirit of an event or a thing that just is like, that’s just contributing to the American idolatry of busy-ness and we need to say no.

Right. And not necessarily that event, that event is not, I’m talking about like scheduling that on your calendar and always doing that all the time, versus, “Oh my goodness. This actually is the best Sabbath event.” A birthday party with close friends, a night at another friend’s house. We want that day … I think so many times people get very, a little legalistic in a good way. In the sense of like … People ask these questions usually first, meaning like it’s when you’re really entering into it, right. But I think it’s better to go a little bit more with the spirit. You want that day to just represent delight, feasting, celebrating, rest, fun, and family time.

And so with those filters, does that day represent that or not? Now there is totally exceptions where obligated, meaning like I don’t care if we feel like it’s restful or not, I’m not going to miss a wedding. I’m not going to miss, you know what I mean, a certain birthday party. I’m not going to miss something that’s maybe like a family or a health thing. That’s ridiculous. I’m not missing that. That’s different, but in just like the, “Oh, should we, or shouldn’t we?” It’s just like another invitation. That’s how we tend to filter it. What would you say to that?

Yeah. I would agree that this is the kind of question that is really relevant and is really challenging your first couple of years of Sabbath keeping. And so it’s really important to keep that in mind, because what starts to happen is if you become very consistent, everyone in your life begins to be aware of, oh, is this a day we should avoid if we want this family to engage.


And that’s kind of the way I would say for us after almost 20 years of keeping Sabbath, man, our family and our friends are hyper aware that this is a Sabbath day for us. And so we tend to not get a lot of these invitations on our Sabbath day. And if people are really, really wanting us to be part of it, they usually even, and part of it’s that we have five kids. We bring a big party with us. So if you’re going to have us, if you really want us at your party, then involve us in the early stages because of your planning. And we will say, “Hey, we Sabbath on Saturday. So could we do this on a Sunday? We’d love to be there,” and something like that. So, but I would say, look, early on when your family is getting used to this, you have to be kind of careful not to make everyone else hate your Sabbath.

Totally, exactly.

It’s really a tough call. And so, yeah, like Jeff was saying, the filter should be life-giving. If this is going to drain you like crazy, then be careful with what you allow to happen on your Sabbath. If I go to a little kid birthday party that goes on for two or three hours on a Sabbath, it’s not a Sabbath. You can just cross that off. I did not rest. And my next week is going to pay a big price for that.


And so there’s a rule in my own heart, and again, this is something I’ve learned a lot is, is I have to trust that I’m going to fully recover on my Sabbath. And if you actually can fully trust that you’re going to fully recover on your Sabbath, it bears so much fruit in the previous week leading up to the Sabbath. So much fruit in the week post the Sabbath, that there’s very few things that aren’t worth me destroying my ability to trust that I’m going to recover fully on a Sabbath. So, one of the things that will happen is, this might be really annoying to some people, some people might be too agreeable for this, but man, if somebody’s got a birthday party that I really want to honor that person, it’s on my Sabbath. Then I’ll be kind of weird and I’ll show up late and leave early, you know?


Stuff like that. I mean, that’s just, all this stuff is a little bit, stuff that you have to learn about yourself, what works for you, what doesn’t work for you. And people usually are fairly understanding about me. I’m a quirky person. So I might be able to get away with that a little more easily than you can.

Also the sporting activities, man. I mean, that’s a giant can of worms. We talk about that other places, but our family, what we’ve decided, for the most part is we try to do sporting activities we can do as a family where we can control the dynamics of when the practices are and when the games are in order to avoid and avoid implicating our Sabbath. There has been times where that’s been violated. We took TaeKwonDo and occasionally they would have their giant testing, huge things going on on a morning. And that was a huge negotiation. But generally speaking, we went cause it was the whole family. It wasn’t super restful smashing boards on a Sabbath, but it was something we wanted to be a part of. And so we decided to make an exception.

But it’s not about the legalism, it’s about learning. How do you enter into Sabbath? How’s your family enter into the Sabbath? How do you honor that? How do you keep that? And just be aware that the rules are there to serve you, not you to serve the rules. Keep that totally in the front of your mind when you’re figuring this stuff out. And over time, this stuff will become very intuitive.

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