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Coordinating the Sabbath across different time zones

Discussion in 'Traditional Adventists' started by Eftsoon, Oct 6, 2021.

  1. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    How do you coordinate the sabbath when working with international clients? How do you handle a situation where a client is 8 hours ahead on Friday? Do you book sabbath appointments for them with a clear conscience?I've been doing this quite blithely, but it recently struck me that there is a certain inconsistency there.

    Coordinating everyone's sabbath in an international company would be an impossible logistical knot. My instinct is that God is primarily concerned with our faithful observance. I wanted to get some other opinions on the matter however.
     
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  2. BobRyan

    BobRyan Junior Member Supporter

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    I have been in that position many times in the past - I try not to create appointments that way and often there is a lot of appreciation for it on the other end since it gives the other person the weekend off. We just setup the schedule so they are doing work the next Monday instead (sometimes on their Sunday), and we tried not to schedule conference calls on Friday that would put them into hours past their sunset.

    But when working with people that are not Sabbath keeping - it is not feasible to tell them "not to work on what would be the Sabbath".
     
  3. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for responding. That would be rather difficult for me, as I'm working with people from 3-4 different time zones. Is that the received practice among Jews/Messianic Jews/SDAs?
     
  4. BobRyan

    BobRyan Junior Member Supporter

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    We have 4 different timezones just in the lower 48 plus, and 7 if you count Alaska and Hawaii - but I was talking about scheduling across 11 time zones from eastern standard in the U.S. to Hyderabad India in my prior post.
     
  5. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    Is your practice common across Judaism/Sabbath-keeping Christendom? I can't find any information on it.
     
  6. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    Sending E-mail to a place where it is still Shabbat


    This article suggests that it's okay (for Orthodox Jews) to send an email to a place where it is the Sabbath. Perhaps this can be transposed into the current situation.

    I've only recently begun observing the Sabbath seriously. It puts me in a rather awkward position. I have sessions booked next Friday which will involve people from China and Japan. If I am committing a sin by working with them on their Sabbath, I'm going to have to cancel those appointments. It's going to be difficult to explain, and it's going to look fairly bad.

    Would really appreciate a fairly broad spectrum of opinions before doing anything drastic.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
  7. Freth

    Freth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Let's take a look at the language of the commandment:

    Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
    Within thy gates. It comes down to personal responsibility. As the commandment specifies, it is your responsibility to observe the Sabbath in your own household and ensure anyone within your gates observes it as well.

    It is another person's responsibility to observe Sabbath in their own household, within their own gates and make the necessary preparations to ensure it is able to be observed.
    You have no control over another person in another time zone, nor should it be your responsibility. E-mail would be the same. A person observing the Sabbath probably isn't going to be checking on their business e-mails, but even if they do glance at their phone or computer, they can put the device down or step away from it without reading it.

    On the flip side, say you order something from Amazon.com during the week, but it shows up on Saturday. Usually, ship date and arrival date is specified, but there are times when I have had packages arriving on Saturday and there's no way to keep it from happening. It's not something I set out to do, to cause someone else to work on Sabbath and deliver a package to me. Even if you order on a Sunday or Monday, sometimes the package still doesn't arrive until Saturday, despite the actual specified ship date. The Amazon deliverer would be "within thy gates", delivering my package on the Sabbath. Does it mean a stranger who is a guest or a stranger momentarily delivering a package? I think it means both. We should do everything we can to make sure a package arrives outside the Sabbath day.

    Since we are staying home during Sabbath, aside from church, being out in nature, fellowship, or the Lord's work, we are generally not causing others to work for us on the Sabbath. i.e. We don't go out to eat, we don't go to a store to buy and sell, etc. But when we are out, we do the same as if we were at home, within our gates.

    There are things that are beyond your control and that are not your responsibility. You should endeavor to ensure your own household is in observance and that you are not causing others to work for you during your observance. Each person is responsible for their own observance.

    Others may have a different view on this. At the end of the day, we each do according to our conscience, based on scripture. I think it comes down to what you take from scripture. Pray on it and ask for guidance.

    God bless and Happy Sabbath!
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2021
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  8. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you.There is no consensus on this, so it has to be approached prayerfully. One concern I have is for those with a strong tendency towards obsessive behaviours. This is the kind of thing that could be quite debilitating. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Observing one's own Sabbath in one's own timezone presents a number of challenges, let alone having a mental checklist of where the Sabbath falls in every other timezone.
     
  9. Freth

    Freth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, it's very easy to lose sight of what God intended and be overly obsessive about it (I believe it's called legalism). As Jesus said, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30) If you're doing it correctly, it isn't a burden. I believe that scripture gives us clear instructions on the Sabbath and we need not look beyond them and add more than is there. Nor should we take away from what we are commanded. Isaiah mentioned the Sabbath being a delight, a holy day in which we honor the Lord, not doing our own ways, finding our own pleasure, or speaking our own words. (Isaiah 58:13) This describes what the Sabbath should be perfectly.
     
  10. Gary K

    Gary K Well-Known Member

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    As with everything associated with our relationship with God, we are to educate our conscience and then live by it as our relationships with God are all as individuals. It's like Paul speaking to eating food offered to idols. We must decide for ourselves what is wrong and what is right. Paul would have had no problem eating food offered to idols but he didn't do it because of the views of other people.

    If you are having trouble deciding what to do in some instances that come up in life present you questions to our heavenly Father, believe He loves you and will educate you on every needful thing, and God will make His will known to you in a way that will be unmistakable to you. God will answer the prayer of faith.
     
  11. reddogs

    reddogs Contributor Supporter

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    Its like handling a wedding by zoom, when you have to coordinate the time for it and you have friends and family in different time zones. Just needs a little of work, but can be done..
     
  12. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    It's not the same at all. I feel that a number posters haven't really grasped the issue. I haven't been clear enough. I also suspect that people are coming into this having only read the title or skimmed the OP. It's understandable. I've been guilty of this sometimes. While I deeply appreciate the responses, it's disheartening.
     
  13. Gary K

    Gary K Well-Known Member

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    So you think taking this issue to God in prayer is lacking in understanding of your problem? How so? And how is God unable to answer your prayers on this?
     
  14. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't referring to that, but there are some things where we have to yield to church authority. God has provided the church for exactly this purpose.
     
  15. Gary K

    Gary K Well-Known Member

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    This I do not understand at all.

    We are never submit our consciences to another human being's will. Human beings, all of us, are sinful finite beings. God is not. Only God can give us an always perfect understanding of truth. That means our first, and best, option is take things directly to God in prayer. Jesus told us:
    Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth. How much truth does all omit? If we ask, believing Jesus' promise, why would He refuse to fulfill His promise to us? You say that Jesus' promise was only to his disciples? Are not Christians disciples of Jesus?

    True, we are sheep, but there is only one Good Shepherd, and He is the only one that has all the true answers. No other human being nor human organization can ever be as perfect as Jesus thus we are to place our complete trust in God alone.

    I'm an SDA because it teaches the truths of the Bible, but I would never place my conscience under the control of the SDA church. Why? Because it is human and fallible. Only God deserves our 100% allegiance and trust.

    Anyway, that's my view on things. Also, if you expect what you obviously do, you'll find very little, if any, support for that. Oh, there are control freaks in SDAism just like there are in all denominations but they are like that in all areas of life. They want to control your entire life.
     
  16. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    I hear you, but we all submit to Patristic authority and the cumulative wisdom of the church amassed over centuries. All our doctrines have been passed down. It seems like good sense to trust in greater knowledge, experience and wisdom.
     
  17. Gary K

    Gary K Well-Known Member

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    I disagree. Jesus gave His word that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. I trust Him not sinful human beings.

    A theologian is no different than I am. They are sinful finite beings too. I get pure truth from the Bible and the Holy Spirit and I can not get that from another sinful human being. God can teach me more in a moment than any theologian can teach me in a lifetime.

    I'll stick with God as my teacher. You can follow any man you please. But, there is only one Good Shepherd. God changed my life entirely. He has the power to do that. No theologian can possibly change anyone's life. And Jesus told us that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

    Show me from scripture where Jesus or any of the prophets said listen to the theologians. If my memory serves me right it was the theologians of Jesus' day who murdered Him because they hated him. They also murdered the prophets he sent during old testament times.

    To me that's not much of a recommendation for theologians.
     
  18. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    The letters of Paul are theological reflections for the most part. John's gospel also makes bold theological statements. Without theology there would be no doctrine of the Trinity. We still would be puzzling over whether Christ is God, God'man or just man.

    Essentially, theology binds disparate threads into unity, separates out dross. The theologians of the early church fought bitterly to preserve right doctrine against heretics. If it weren't for God's communication through them, the church would be in disarray.

    The approach you describe would lead to chaos and disunity in the church.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
  19. Gary K

    Gary K Well-Known Member

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    So, following Jesus rather than uninspired men would destroy the church? The Pharisees and Saducees proved just how wrong you are. They destroyed their own church rather than follow Jesus.

    I'll stick with Jesus.

    The only reason people struggle to know God is that they choose to follow their own ideas rather than scripture while ignoring the leading of the Holy Spirit. God has revealed Himself in scripture. We need nothing other than the Bible, the Holy Spirit. and a heart surrendered to God to know God.

    The Bible contains every tool we could ever need.

     
  20. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Well-Known Member

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    I ought not to be starting up a debate in this forum. I am not a traditional Adventist. I was raised in the SDA church and have close family ties to the church. i also keep the Sabbath, but that obviously doesn't make me SDA.

    Thank you for entertaining my questions/contention however :)

    Having said that.... I largely agree with you. It's a really troublesome issue, and I don't think I actually have any choice but to seek direct revelation on this.
     
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