Service to Others

The Maeda Escarpment — otherwise known as Hacksaw Ridge — was to be taken, no matter what the cost. B company had come to trust Private Desmond Doss implicitly. But the assault to take the ridge was scheduled for May 5, 1945. A Sabbath. Doss asked to finish his devotional time first. This request was not only granted for his company, but the entire assault was delayed until Doss had finished his devotions. Why did he choose to serve on his Sabbath, a day he would usually spend away from everyday concerns in worship and rest? Doss said it was because he was doing good — something his faith taught him to do seven days a week. And on that day, the Americans took the ridge and held it for good.

On Saturday, May 5, 1945, Doss answered the call of duty to his fellow men. In doing so he was walking in the footsteps of Jesus who did not hold back from doing good on the Sabbath.

But what is the origin of the Sabbath that Doss believed and followed? Is it still relevant today?

Q1 What does the very first verse of the Bible tell us about where we came from?

Genesis 1:1 — In the beginning the heavens and the earth.

The creation story gives humans an understanding of our place in the universe and the meaning of life.

Q2 What did God do when he finished creating this world?

Genesis 2:2,3 — By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he from all his . Then God the seventh day and made it , because on it he from all the work of creating that he had done.

God separated the seventh day from every other day of the week. He specifically blessed this day and made it holy. Why do you think God did this? God set aside a specific day to enable us to rest from the busyness of life, and to enjoy dedicated time with him and his creation.

Q3 What is the Sabbath a reminder of?

Exodus 20:8,11 — Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. For in six days the Lord the and the , the , and all that is in them, but he on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

God has given us a weekly reminder that he is Creator. The word “Sabbath” means “rest”. It is interesting to note that before the battle, Doss took the time to remind himself that it is God who gives and values life.

Q4 As Jesus hung on the cross, he cried, “It is finished!”, then he died. What day did he rest in the tomb?

Luke 23:54-56 — It was Preparation Day, and the was about to begin.

God rested on the seventh day after His work of creating the earth. Similarly, Jesus rested in the tomb on the Sabbath from his work of salvation. When Jesus died on the cross he had finished paying for our sins. His work was done — Satan was defeated. The Sabbath is a reminder of both creation and salvation.

Q5 What did Jesus say was made for our benefit?

Mark 2:27,28 — The Sabbath was made for , not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is even of the Sabbath.

The Lord’s day is for our benefit — a day for doing good and to encourage each other spiritually.

Q6 What is it lawful to do on the Sabbath day?

Matthew 12:9-12 — Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is to do on the Sabbath.”

Q7 What was Jesus’ custom?

Luke 4:16 — He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the , as was his custom.

Q8 Were there others who kept the Sabbath in the New Testament?

Acts 17:2 — As was his , Paul went into the synagogue, and on three days he reasoned with them from the .

Q9 What is the key aspect of keeping God’s Sabbath?

Exodus 20:10 — … but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any , neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.

Sabbath is a weekly unplug from the hassle and stress of life, a realignment of our lives in step with our Creator God, and a time to connect with others in worship, fellowship and service.

Q10 What are God’s ideals for the Sabbath and its impact on humanity?

Isaiah 58:13,14

If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a 
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your  in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.

Isaiah 58 highlights key principles that were important to Doss — justice, obedience and loyalty. Without a connection to God, the Sabbath becomes an empty day filled with meaningless activities. However, the Sabbath, faithfully honoured with God at its heart, becomes altogether a different day.

Jesus says He wants to give us joy and abundance — the Sabbath contributes to this special relationship, helping us to develop a deeper walk with Him (John 10:10).

Answers to the big questions about life

The Sabbath shows us the most important things that we need to know. Life did not happen by chance. We were created by a loving God for a close friendship with Him. This was the bedrock foundation of faith for Doss. Desmond Doss wanted to honour God’s Commandments and chose to keep the Sabbath. It was in his relationship with God that Doss found meaning, purpose and the determination that led to the rescue of so many soldiers on Hacksaw Ridge. How do you think the Sabbath will benefit your life?