Making others work on the sabbath?

In response to an email received from a brother in Christ:

“Shalom PD, thank you for your strong faith and amazing teachings! I’ve just watched your video, “Sabbath is a burden” and wow, I’ve learned so much from it! I’ve been keeping the sabbath for over a year now, as do some of my fellowship members and there seems to be a slight difference on how we should keep and honour the sabbath. I realise from your teaching that we are not to add man made rules or traditions to God’s word, but to keep it as Yahweh as instructed and the one thing that keeps being discussed, is that some are saying that we don’t go into a cafe or restaurant and eat on the sabbath, or go into coffee shop and have a drink on the sabbath, or go and buy food on the sabbath…

My understanding, is that these appear to be added mans rules, that I don’t see in scripture, but I fully understand why some are saying this. I don’t do these things myself, because I don’t want to feel that I’m breaking the sabbath in doing these things, please, I would be grateful if you could share with me your thoughts on this,

Be blessed in Yeshua”


Hi Peter

The answer to your question is simple, because scripture tells us.

You are right, we are not to add man made traditions to the word of God, if that tradition will nullify the word of God.

However, going to a restaurant, or a coffee shop, most definitely is breaking the sabbath. It’s not a man made rule that defines that, but rather the commandment of keeping the sabbath itself. We are instructed to rest on the sabbath (abstain from work), but not only that, we are instructed to never let anyone else work (as to serve us) on the sabbath either:

“but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.” Exo 20:10

So its not a man made teaching, it’s from God. Anything at all, that makes someone else or ourselves work, is not permitted by God on the sabbath. How can we say we keep His day holy by resting from our works – as He did from His – but we make others stumble by causing them to work? That is hypocrisy. Whether or not we are the main reason someone will work (coffee shops will remain open, whether we go or not), the same principle applies.

I hope that helps

Shalom and love


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19 thoughts on “Making others work on the sabbath?”

  1. My question is this. We run a business that involves taking care of animals on the Sabbath as well as Sunday. Our employee generally works Friday and Saturdays but I work Sundays so she can “go to church” which is what she wants. We specifically don’t work Friday/Saturday so we can keep a Sabbath but the animals can not go without care during the time we are “resting.” So this is our situation. Our business is being used to help the poor, the unfortunate and many ministries and we believe the Lord directed us to buy it. So was would Yeshua say about this situation?

    1. HI Chris, I think that taking care of animals is definitely in line with observing t he Sabbath, based on what Messiah said, that if you have an ox in the ditch, you pull it out, even on the Sabbath. The difference in taking care of animals on the Sabbath and on the workdays is what you do, on the Sabbath you do what is necessary for life, not what you regularly do. Hope that is clear?

    2. Hi Chris

      Since you describe your work to be caring for animals and helping the poor, then there would be no problem caring for them on the sabbath. The sabbath is to bring life, and if you were to forsook care on this day then the point of the command would be missed.

      Please continue caring for them on the sabbath, it is not a sin, but fall into the “helping an ox out of the pit” scenario, or also where Yeshua and His disciples picked grain on the sabbath. If it brings life, it is good.

      Blessings and shalom

  2. Jamie Nixon Garcia

    Nehemiah 10:31 might assist in this response. Not sure if you address buying and selling on the sabbath in other teachings.

  3. If you have a near friend that is in dire need of help in their little business is it totally wrong to help them on the Sabbath.?

  4. Hi Ronald, the question would be whether helping them is a situation that would bring life, which is a question you would need to pray about. But I would personally be hesitant of doing it casually. The biggest blessing for the business would be to let it rest of the day God declared as the day of rest. We have seen God bless businesses above and beyond numerous times when they have honored His day.

  5. Hi, what about if you have an online business that you close on the Sabbath, but you have people that promote your business online? In the agreement it will state not to promote during the Sabbath, but are you still responsible if they choose to break the rules and do it anyway? Also everyone has access to social media and can easily re-post ads for your business on any day of the week. What is your biblical take on this situation? GOD bless

    1. Hi “King’s Daughter”,

      If you are even going as far as placing it in the agreement to not promote the business on the 7th day, then you are doing all you can as far as I can tell. It is our responsibility to do our best to not make anyone else work. But ultimately, we cannot control the choices of other people. I think you’ve done a reasonable amount of trouble here to do your part as far as possible.

      We don’t need to worry about what other people do if it is out of our control (e.g. sharing one of our business Facebook posts).

      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks so much, I really appreciate your timely response. Ok, that is also what I was thinking. I just wanted to hear someone else’s input who honours the Sabbath as well. I do not want to sin against GOD. I will continue to ask HIM to lead me. GOD bless you!

        ~MUST Repent, Accept Jesus, Be Baptized & Receive the Holy Spirit, Turn from Sin, Obey GOD & Jesus to enter Heaven. Rev 22:14, Rom 6:1-2, Gal 5:19-25, John 3:5 KJV~

      2. Hi Pd,
        I operate a sports business that hosts basketball games throughout the week. Some of the games fall on the Sabbath. For those games, I do not attend however , others are present working those events. I don’t wish to violate the Sabbath, would you suggest not hosting games Fri/Sat?

        1. Hi Tyus, this may be a difficult situation to face, but God has given you a gift to shine your light as a business operator. If you have workers working on the Sabbath (starting Friday evening, ending Saturday evening), that would be violating the commandment, even if you yourself aren’t present.

          God blesses those who keep His commandments, especially when we make sacrifices doing so. You will be blessed supernaturally for obeying His will. I have experienced it, and countless others.

          Feel free to press “contact” on our website and write in if you want more guidance on navigating this. And see this in-depth video discussing practical challenges:


  6. Justin Williams

    Hi PD, is it okay for me to have a book for sell on kdp on amazon (kindle direct publishing) on Sabbath day? The way kdp works is that every time someone buys my books, amazon makes a copy and sells it to the person, therefore I’m not working; I rest on the day and don’t work at all, but do I have to unplush the books every Sabbath and republish after? What if you published a book somewhere and you get money from it, would you still be breaking the Sabbath, even though your not working?

    1. Hi Justin, as a published author myself, I understand your dilemma. However, think about it this way:

      If you have a business that sells items wholesale to grocery stores, you are not responsible for whether those grocery stores are working on Sabbath. Your obligation reaches towards yourself and any individual directly employed by yourself.

      With KDP, Amazon isn’t an individual employed by you. You sell them the “license”/right to use your manuscript in their marketplace. You get proceeds from sales they make. There is no way for you to control on what day Amazon, or any bookstore selling your books decide to sell on.

      Do what you can with what you have control over. God is more than understanding.

  7. Hello,
    I am an HVAC service technician and we go on call every 12 weeks. I sometimes get called to go out if someones heat or ac broke and it sometimes falls on the Sabbath day. These people are indeed calling for help, but would my own laboring be breaking the Sabbath and are they too causing me to break the Sabbath?

    1. Hello Rick,

      That’s a good question. In general, as you’ve alluded to, we are not to work or make others work on the Sabbath. However, there are principles in Scripture which are more specific in scope (than the general Sabbath command, meant for all Israel). I believe that Yeshua’s words about the ox in the ditch (Luke 14:5), as well as his healing of a man with a withered hand (Mark 3; Luke 6) are relevant to your situation.

      If rescuing one’s ox from the ditch is allowed, then how much more should we prioritize emergencies on behalf of fellow humans, who are created in God’s image? I don’t mean to sound like a spoiled American, but I do think that heat or air conditioner going out on the Sabbath can qualify as an emergency (although hopefully a minor one, in most cases). For example, if someone in that house were sick, proper temperature could be quite important. Also, if our own power went out, whether at home or in a congregation, we would probably try to fix it. There isn’t a big difference.

      But Yeshua even teaches that some non-emergencies should be prioritized as well, when one has an opportunity to alleviate suffering. The man’s withered hand, as far as we know, was not an emergent situation, yet Yeshua heals him anyway. There are other examples we could examine, but hopefully the point has been made.

      So to recap, there is a command (very general in scope, which applies to all Israel) to keep Shabbat. But there are more specific commands / principles which take priority over that general command:

      1) Scripture directs us to prioritize emergencies over Sabbath-keeping.
      2) Scripture directs us to prioritize the alleviation of suffering over Sabbath-keeping.

      I believe your on-call assignment would fall under a fairly short list of jobs (including doctors, nurses, firefighters, policemen, military, etc.) that are scripturally allowed and necessary on the Sabbath. It’s not like you are working at a grocery store, or eating out at a restaurant (and having a waitress serve you), which are unlawful violations of the Sabbath. However, if it still bothers your conscience, you could consider donating any money you make on those days to ministers or the poor. I do think (generally) that the goal should still be to try to get the day off anyway, and volunteer to work Sundays and non-scriptural holidays in exchange (if that is an option). But until/if that happens, I think you can rest assured that this work is allowed and necessary.

      I hope this helps!

  8. My family keeps the Sabbath by not working, cooking, or causing anyone else to work, however, I am wondering, if I order an online item and it is in transit to my house during the Sabbath, am I breaking the commandment because someone else is working to bring my package to me? We have requested that we not receive mail on Saturday’s. They oblige our request and do not give us our mail on Saturday’s, however, I would like to order food from an online bulk company, but I am not sure it would be breaking the 4h commandment because it will be in route to my home during the Sabbath. Same goes for online purchases and magazine subscriptions. I refrain from those for the same reason, but it is taxing and very restrictive to only order things that will ship during the weekdays. Is it a sin to have something shipped?

    1. Hi Jennifer, regarding shipping packages like from Amazon: if you’re trying your best by requesting they don’t deliver on Saturday’s, that’s honorable.

      The postal system and systems like that in our world is a necessity, yet unfortunately our world does not honor the sabbath. God’s commandment to us is to not let our servants/laborers work for us on the Sabbath. The mail man that delivers the mail to your house is an example of such a servant. But you cannot control whether the upstream transport trucks, planes, etc. that is part of the system takes the day off or not.

      In my discernment, this seems to be a situation where we do our best, while recognizing that in some instances in our world, it is impossible to not touch something that may indirectly make someone else work. Especially if that larger system is also an essential service that promotes life (“It is good to do good on the Sabbath”).

      So, we try our best with those who we have direct influence on (the mail man who comes to our porch), while recognizing we cannot stop the larger system on the Sabbath.

      In short: I don’t believe sending a letter is a sin because it touches a mail system that doesn’t take Sabbath off.

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