How To Stop Working on Shabbat

Honor Shabbat by not working - here's how to stop working on the Sabbath | Land of Honey
 Pin It
So you've realized that the Sabbath is on the seventh day and that honoring it is a good idea. But...you work on Shabbat. How can you change that? It is challenging to do holy things in a culture that does otherwise. It can take time to find a way to set apart the Sabbath day. It can be hard, but not too hard. It is possible to have a work schedule that allows you to rest on the Sabbath. Here are some ideas to get there.

-Pray about it.
This is step one! If you believe that YHWH desires you to honor his Shabbat by having a day off of work, pray for guidance about the route you should take to get there. He will provide a way for you to honor his commandment.

-And then do something.
I am reminded of the story in Nehemiah 4 when those working to rebuild the wall prayed for protection and organized a watch for safety. If money is tight do you pray for YHWH to meet your needs? Of course. But do you just sit back on the couch hoping for an unexpected check to show up or do you go to work, put in overtime, delay a shopping trip, search the couch cushions for change, etc. to scrape up enough money for your bills? Faith goes with action!

-Be a great employee.
If you want your employer to accommodate your desire to rest on the Sabbath, it helps to be great at what you do. Honing your professional skill set, working hard, following directions and protocol, having a positive attitude, going the extra mile, being friendly and considerate to coworkers and clients, intentionally working towards getting better at what you do, showing up on time - these are things that companies value. If you show up at work with a poor attitude, slack off from your duties, complain and gossip why would anyone go out of their way to have you work for them? Being hard working and reliable means that your place of business will be more likely to go out of their way to keep you around.

-Talk to your boss about changing your availability. 
Your supervisor is not going to change your schedule unless you talk to them about it. It might not be the most comfortable conversation, but if honoring Shabbat is important to you then it's necessary. You don't need to give a ton of details if you don't want to. You could start the conversation with something like, "I've decided to start observing the Biblical Sabbath day which is Saturday and I'd like to talk with you about options for me to have that day off." If being direct is difficult, consider putting it in writing.

-What if your supervisor questions your sincerity?
Many people have been questioned by their employer about their beliefs, and it usually goes along the lines of, I thought you were always religious, why would this be an issue now? or It sounds like you just don't want to work Saturdays. Employers are allowed to ask some questions on your faith, and how and when you present your request will have some affect on how it is received. If the company has just announced it will no longer pay time and a half on Saturdays and that's when you say you can't work then for religious reasons...well, you can see how that would look suspicious. Otherwise, just honestly tell them that your beliefs have changed. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (they enforce the non discrimination laws) has pointed out that religious beliefs and practices do change over time, so what you've done in the past should not determine your present beliefs.

Make it a point to show the sincerity of your beliefs at other times as well. Would coworkers be surprised that you're a believer based on your workplace behavior? Is your boss able to drive by your home and see you mowing the grass on your 'day of rest'? There are countless ways you can show that your faith is important to you, which is an excellent testimony to others, and should go a long way with your workplace accommodating your desire to honor Shabbat.

-Sign up for other shifts.
When I first started observing the Sabbath day I worked for a radio station where I made promotional appearances on the weekend and in the evenings. Because our schedule of events was always different we signed up for what we could cover each week. So I stopped signing up for Saturday events but I made up for it by working more at other times. Sunday I was there. Friday morning, Wednesday night? Yep, any time that was not the Sabbath I would do. Had I just crossed Saturday events off the calendar I wouldn't have fulfilled the requirements of my job; working above and beyond the minimum for the rest of the week made it possible to get that day off though. And by making myself available so much the rest of the week I stayed on my boss' good side which didn't hurt either.

Similarly, a friend was able to get out of working at a grocery store from Friday night - Saturday night (notoriously busy times for retailers), by agreeing to work the hard-to-fill overnight shift Saturday night/Sunday morning. He had never worked thirds before, and didn't really fancy the idea of it it but it was worth it to him to have the Sabbath off.

-Find someone to switch shifts with.
Ask around to see if someone would be willing to trade shifts with you. Someone else might actually prefer the hours you are trying to give up, but you probably won't know unless you ask. You can sweeten the pot by offering to work on Christmas, Easter, etc. - covering those can help you to get off for the Hebrew holidays. Be sure to clear any shift trades with your boss if necessary.

-The legal stuff.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating based on religion (as well as sex, race, color, and national origin), so it is a crime for your workplace to discriminate against you because you are a Sabbath keeper. This means that federal law requires companies to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of their employees except if doing so would create an "undue hardship" on the employer. "Undue hardship" gets defined as something beyond minimal cost or burden to the employer. Basically, how difficult would it be for your employer to change your schedule? Typically an example is that if you not working on the Sabbath would cause your employer to force someone else to come in or cause them to pay someone overtime to work for you that would be undue hardship, whereas switching shifts with a willing coworker would not. Title VII also says that your employer cannot retaliate against you for exercising your rights to religious accommodation. Obviously the water gets a little murky with the terms reasonable accommodation or undue hardship, but if you feel like you are being discriminated against consider consulting with a lawyer. There are free legal chatlines where you can ask questions, so you can get a better idea of the specifics in your situation. 

-Look for other jobs.
What if your employer is not accommodating or the nature of your job demands work on the Sabbath? Rather than throwing your hands up in the air, grab the classified section. See what's out there. Ask around. Send in your resume. Start exploring your options and you may be surprised at what comes up.

-If you're self-employed.
Obviously being self employed gives you the freedom to set your own schedule but facing a drop in business can be daunting. Be encouraged by many stories from self-employed hairstylists, photographers, etc. who have stopped working on Saturdays and have actually seen an increase in business. This might require some changes, like focusing more on family portraits and less on weddings for photographers, for example. But it is most certainly an option for entrepreneurs! As with being a great employee, being excellent at what you do and providing great customer service means customers and clients will work with your schedule.

-What about emergency workers?
In our society there are many jobs that require someone to be there 24/7. I get that. I'm glad that healthcare and help from the police is always available. Caregivers for the elderly or disabled are needed every day of the week. There is also the occasional need for things like snow clearing services, radio and news workers (during natural disasters or storm warnings, for example), and people on call to fix power and phone lines. Does that mean people in these fields have a free pass from observing the Sabbath? 

If you're in a field like this, definitely pray about what YHWH wants you to do. While emergencies come up, I don't think this means YHWH wants someone regularly missing out on his set apart day. There is a big difference between a doctor getting called in for life-saving emergency surgery or to help a woman in labor, versus scheduling a routine appointment on Shabbat. I would add that right now there are plenty of people who don't honor the Sabbath day, so it's not like people aren't available to cover your hours. I believe that as we see a shift towards more and more people honoring Shabbat there will be less of a need for many of these services. For example, if sporting events aren't on the Sabbath and factories and job sites are closed, there will be fewer injuries and hence less need for medical services.

As the priests rotated duties in the Temple, I think rotation and taking turns is absolutely essential for jobs like this. For jobs that require round the clock services or someone on call, see about rotating and taking turns so that everyone is able to honor at least some Shabbats.

-If you're interviewing for a job.
Be up front about what schedule would work for you. Don't tell a company that your availability is completely open and then expect them to accommodate you later. We have found that clarifying that you don't mind working overtime or inconvenient shifts, just not the Sabbath for religious reasons, is a good way to clarify your expectations to a would be employer.

-Get creative.
Is a job that pays less offering weekends off? Maybe downsizing your home or vehicles would make a pay decrease a feasible option. Could you start a side hustle to make up for income lost from Saturday overtime? Could one spouse pick up another job so they can afford for the other to have the Sabbath off? Is going into business for yourself a possibility?

Honor Shabbat by not working - here's how to stop working on the Sabbath | Land of Honey

What's been your biggest challenge in stopping work on the Sabbath day? For those of you who have been able to do so, what helped you to free up the day? What advice would you give to someone that wants to stop working on Shabbat?

Torah Sisters Magazine Giveaway!


Pin It
We have a giveaway today!




There is now a printed magazine for women (men, too) of the Hebrew faith! Torah Sisters is now available as a hard copy. Every three months encouragement and inspiration can show up in your mailbox. Topics in the magazine include everything from the Sabbath to clean recipes to parenting to self care to ideas for the feasts. The first issue also includes a Torah portions poster and activity sheets for kids.

Editor and creator Amy Guenther was kind of enough to give me a sneak peak of the first issue and it is absolutely beautiful! I'm going to share a little preview with you as well so that you can see what a well done magazine this is.


Isn't it beautiful? What a wonderful resource to help us in our faith journey. The entries come from women all over the country who love the Messiah and also keep the Torah instructions. I think this magazine will be encouraging to all of us, especially those who haven't been able to connect with many others of the Hebrew faith. Here's a great reminder that you aren't the only one walking this way.



Shipping is available for both US and international readers of the hard copy. The magazine is also available as a PDF to view on your computer, phone, or tablet if that's more your style.



Get entered to win a copy! For US readers we will be shipping a free copy of Torah Sisters directly to your door. For readers in Israel, Australia, France, Vietnam, South Africa, Mexico (we've had quite the mix lately) or elsewhere you have the option to choose a one year PDF subscription or you can opt to cover the shipping costs and receive a free copy of the magazine. Sound good?

Thanks so much to Amy for a great giveaway! Subscribe to the magazine here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When YHWH Keeps You


Pin It
The verse on my mind is from Numbers 24:11. It occurs during the story of Balaam and Balak. The talking donkey has a tendency to overshadow the rest of the story, but I think this retort of Balak after he had hired Balaam to curse Israel and that kept not happening speaks a lot.

"I sought to promote you to honor; but YHWH has kept you back from honor." -Numbers 24:11

Most of us have probably at one time or another endured a disappointment and blamed it on YHWH. Maybe that was getting passed over for a promotion, a lower than hoped for test score, relationship hurts, or an unsuccessful business. And when that happens we wonder, "Why didn't YHWH ______?" 

Or how about being frustrated feeling like resting on the Sabbath 'limits' us or holds us back? I've had to turn down job opportunities because they wanted me to work on the Sabbath. And plenty of times I've skipped friend get-togethers, bridal showers, and events because they landed on Shabbat. While that can be disappointing, the choice is ours to choose to say that YHWH is keeping us back from opportunities or fun with friends or to believe that he has something better for us.

To make that choice we need to remember that YHWH doesn't see honor like the world does. Oftentimes what the world calls honor is not at all YHWH's definition of it, and that's why he keeps us out of that. Society says that celebrity and fame are the best things that can happen to someone, and we should stop at nothing to achieve that. But looking at the suicide and divorce rates for celebrities should make us grateful that YHWH has kept us back from that. When YHWH keeps us back, YHWH is keeping us.

Balaam was essentially trying out for an important position in Balak's world. A big paycheck, an impressive job title, fame, and gratitude and respect from Balak's people were all his if this tryout went well. That calls to mind Yahusha's warning about doing things for public praise.

"Beware of doing your kind deeds before men, in order to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in Heaven. So when you do a kind deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do, in the congregations and in the streets, to be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward." -Matthew 6:1-2

Are you doing a good deed so you can impress someone? Then that's the only reward you will get for that. Is getting noticed by others what you are after? Well they might be impressed, but that doesn't mean YHWH will.

We should be so grateful that YHWH often holds us back from honor among men, because it doesn't compare to honor in his eyes! We can deduce from the Messiah's words that if our actions aren't motivated by impressing society, then we have a reward coming to us from him. There may be disappointments when things don't go the way we hope, but Romans 8:28 reminds us that YHWH uses even those unfair circumstances for our good. Be thankful when YHWH keeps you back. They have their reward. We are waiting for ours.

Ark Encounter Tour - Part 2

Pin It

Back today with part two of my photos from visiting the Ark Encounter. Even with all of these pictures I don't feel like this really does the Ark justice. It is just so big with so many things to see, each of which is a masterpiece itself. If you are ever near Williamstown, Kentucky I would highly recommend stopping by to see the Ark! 

Tour the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

These ramps were how you went from floor to floor in the Ark.

Tour the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Obviously, Noah and his family had carpentry skills enough to build the Ark but they must have been talented in many other things as well. Everything from animal care to midwifery and healthcare to farming to making things like soap, blankets, and bread. Stone-working and metal working. Probably writing and artistic abilities as well.

Tour the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Directions for the Ark in Scripture!

Tour the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

The center of the ark was open so that light could come down from the windows above.

Tour the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Tour the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Wow, was this an incredible piece! It was a timeline of world history, broken off by different civilizations and cultures. It would take hours to go over the entire thing. After we got home a friend told us you could buy a copy in the gift shop.

Tour the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Tour the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

YHWH in Hebrew - Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

The yod-hey-waw-hey. YHWH in Hebrew.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Before seeing the beautiful living quarters I had sort of pictured Noah and his family huddled together in the dark surrounded by animals, with sleeping bags, and maybe a pot of soup. But there's no reason to believe they would not have put care into designing their own living space. They spent six months on the Ark, possibly longer if they lived on it for any time before or after the flood.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Seriously - what craftsmanship! Interesting to think about too is that they chose all the relics that survived the flood. Practical things like tools and clothing were on board but they were also entrusted with the entire library of their age, hence Noah's library.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

The kitchen area. They would have brought along produce that stores well. See those carrots on the left? Orange carrots are actually a pretty recent creation in the world so I was pleased to see they had the older red variety.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Who ever thought of there being a kitchen on the Ark? Of course they would have needed a space to prepare meals for themselves and maybe even to break down vegetables for the animals. They even included something similar to a tandoori oven on board.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Potting bench with space for drying herbs.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

I absolutely loved this - indoor gardening! There was an explanation that the light that came in from the top of the Ark could have been used to grow foods like lettuces for Noah's family. Or even just to keep plants alive for replanting after the flood.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Explanations of other culture's flood legends.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

The proposed methods of survival in the legends. There were many details about why these would not have worked but the Ark in Scripture would have!

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

There was a special exhibit of various Bible manuscripts when we visited.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Near the end this exhibit explains salvation.

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey


Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

The dove coming back with the olive branch.


Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

Visiting the Ark Encounter | Land of Honey

To give you a better idea of the massive size of the Ark - the first floor is underneath the structure! It was so moving to see the Ark built to scale and like I said, there are so many things I didn't even get pictures of. There are more exhibits, two theaters, pony rides, a zoo, restaurant, and a huge gift shop. I am so glad we had the opportunity to visit!

See part one photos here.