I vividly remember the first date I had with my wife, Danielle. It was at Oakwood College (now University) in the College Skating Rink where one of the university clubs was having a dinner. I remember what we wore, ate, and talked about. In preparation for this “date,” I made sure I looked my best, dressed my best, smelled my best, and acted my best! Although people were trying to engage in conversations with me, not to mention there was a dinner program simultaneously taking place, my attentions were solely focused on Danielle.
The time we spent together on this first date was meaningful as it laid the foundation for a lifelong commitment that we made to one another on December 21, 1997. Standing before God, our families, our friends and our church, we entered the sacred estate of holy matrimony. Over 19 years later, we’re still going on dates, spending valuable time together, and we’ve been blessed to have four beautiful daughters (one deceased).
Every week, however, I have another “date,” but this date is with God! After six days of labor and work during Creation week, our Creator set aside the seventh-day, Sabbath, as a day of rest for us, and a time of worship to Him. During this twenty-four hour period, from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, I have a weekly “date” with God! I refrain from doing my own ways, finding my own pleasure, or speaking my own words. My attentions are focused on God and His love for me.
Because we love Him, we honor this date.
The venue for our “date” is His house, His sanctuary, and I worship Him—continually thanking Him for His grace and mercy! When I enter His house for this “date,” I look my best, dress my best, smell my best, and act my best—not because my worship offering is greater because of these actions, but because He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and I celebrate the fact that I can be in His presence!
Most dates, be it a concert, dinner, or social event, come to an end as they only last for a specific time period. Yet, the good news about our date with God is that it will continue throughout eternity. “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.” This means that when we reside in God’s great heaven, we will celebrate the Sabbath with Him without end!
Let us never forget that God gave us His commandments, His love letters, because He created and knew what was best for us. He instituted the Sabbath, Love Letter #4, because He loves us and knew we’d need a specific day of rest and refreshment, along with a precise period of worship to Him. Because we love Him, we honor this “date,” and spend valuable time with Him coming aside from the daily rigors of life. I enjoy my present “dates” with God, but I look forward to the day when these “dates” never end and our time together is infinite!
CARLTON P. BYRD, D.MIN., is Senior Pastor of the Oakwood University Church in
Huntsville, Alabama and the speaker and director for Breath of Life Television Ministries.
*All scriptural texts are taken from the King James Version.
1 Genesis 2:1-3
2 Exodus 20:8-11
3 Leviticus 23:3; Luke 4:16-20
4 Isaiah 58:13-14
5 Leviticus 23:3; Luke 4:16-20; Psalm 122:1;
6 Revelation 17:14
7 Isaiah 66:22-23
8 John 14:15