My dad was a police his entire life and had to work on Sundays, Christmas, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Good Friday, etc. Same goes with my sister who works in the hospital attending to sick people even on Sundays, and growing up as a kid this has kept me ever confused because I have the elders and most Church workers strictly warning me not to work on Sunday and on the other hand I grew up watching my dad work on Sunday and later my sister.
Now, since part of my Coffee business involves in the hospitality service sector, I have two kinds of people constantly bugging me on every single given opportunity. One that always asks me as to why we are not opening our Coffee shop on Sundays and the other who always reminds me of the obvious criticisms that would follow considering the popular belief that working on Sunday is unbecoming of a Christian.
Interestingly these seemingly contentious views of whether we should do business on Sunday or not sounds like an oxymoron to me, it has both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to it, and this remained a concern nobody wanted to talk about among the Naga business community. So regardless of what it may look like when I listen to my guests who want me to open my coffee shop on Sunday, I can’t help but begin to empathize on them the fact that Sunday is the only day they get to hang out with their loved ones, especially after their Sunday Service devotions. And frankly speaking from a business point of view, business will be good on Sunday because people have time to hang out, all other businesses are closed, traffic is smooth and we can always make Monday a rest day for the staff.
So now the question is, as Christians what does the Bible say about working on Sabbath? To this, for a lay person like me going through the Scripture references appears to be paradoxical. Perhaps it is to do with Mosaic Law and the New Covenant through Jesus Christ, which the scholars and Bible teachers will be able to help us understand better. But one thing is clear, it says in Romans 14:5 “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind”, which means Sunday or Monday does not really matter so long as we observe one day of a week as holy after all the seventh day as the Sabbath mentioned in the Bible looks like a Saturday to me. However, further, in verse 13 it says, “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”So then, no matter how right or wrong I feel it is, I should refrain myself from doing what causes others to stumble.
By now it is clear that we are not bound by it, rather we are given the full freedom to choose. Mark 2: 27 "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”When we are in the full knowledge of God, we will not be guilty of doing anything so long as our heart is in the right place and at the same time we will not do anything that will cause others to stumble. So my final takeaway is from Romans 14:18-19 “Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
In conclusion, it will be wrong to preach that working on Sunday is a sin because then it will mean that all medics, police and other professionals in the service sectors are committing sin. However, certain activity may be refrained because if the motive is not driven by service to God and people by choice and as and when situation compels, it becomes an obvious reason why it is wrong. And in the context of the Nagas, if observing Sunday as a Sabbath day exemplify and testify God, so be it, if it will help enrich our walk with God, so be it and if it simply means an act of faith, so be it but even when it is otherwise it may not be termed as unholy and be mindful that there is no direct prescription from the Holy Scripture about Sunday, it only emphasize how it will benefit human and perhaps whoever come to witness of it.
P.S. Let us not limit ourselves to just being Sunday worshippers but live each day as holy and God’s. Let Christ himself be our Sabbath and may we find rest in him forever, not Sunday or Monday or any other day. As for my Coffee Shop, I choose to close down on Sundays given the People, the Place, the responsibilitywe bear as Christians and the Situation we are in.
Lichan Humtsoe is an Entrepreneur. He is the founder & CEO, Ete Coffee.