No Quiet Work on Sabbath
By Gary Rogers
My construction crew had everything ready for the roofing to go onto Essential Life Center, an urban center of influence that we were building in Cambodia’s second-largest city, Battambang. So I called a company in the capital, Phnom Penh, to supply workers to install the roof.
Before finalizing the contract, I explained that we represented a Christian church and didn’t work on Saturday. I was assured that the roof would be finished before then.
But after the workers arrived, I quickly saw that they would not finish before Sabbath. I e-mailed a reminder about the terms of our contract to the head office. My phone rang as I spoke with one of my own workers, Koy Sopaon, at the construction site on Wednesday. “I’m calling about your e-mail,” a company executive said. “We need Saturday to finish. If the guys can’t work on Saturday, we’ll have to pay them extra to wait until Monday.”
“We spoke about this earlier,” I replied. “We cannot work on Saturday.”
The executive changed his approach. “We’ll be quiet,” he promised. “We won’t make any noise. We don’t need to use hammers or other noisy tools on Saturday. No one will even know that we are on the roof.”
“If you have a few minutes, let me explain why we don’t work,” I said.
The executive agreed to listen.
“The Christian Bible tells us that God created this earth in six days,” I said. “On the seventh day, He did three things: He stopped His work, He rested, and He made the day holy. He did that to remind us that He is our Creator. He has asked us not to do any work â€” us or anyone who is working for us â€” on every seventh day, which is Saturday. This way, we can remember and worship Him.”
“Ohhh, I understand,” the executive said. “We’ll rest on Saturday.”
Sopaon, my worker, listened curiously to the phone call. Afterward, he looked at me and asked, “Why does my church worship on Sunday?”
Inviting Sopaon to sit down, I gave him a history lesson on the change of the Sabbath. Later, at lunch break, I saw Sopaon studying his Bible. He expressed amazement that the Bible teaches that the seventh-day is Sabbath.
On Friday, I told Sopaon, “You’ve seen new truth about God’s day in His Word. Wouldn’t you like to follow Him in His truth and keep Sabbath holy?”
“Yes, I would!” Sopaon exclaimed.
Sopaon attended worship services in the half-built center of influence that Sabbath. Nobody worked on the roof overhead. Today he is a deacon and Sabbath School class teacher at the completed church.
Gary Rogers, 63, has worked in Cambodia as a Global Mission builder since 1996. Essential Life Center opened with help from a 2018 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission.
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