Should We Eat At Restaurants On The Lord’s Day?

Joseph Pipa, The Lord’s Day:

This means you should not be going into the office or working in the store on Sunday. You ought not to be doing homework or unnecessary housework. Nor should you cause others to work, so you should avoid eating out, going to the grocery store or the mall, or travelling extensively for business. One increasingly frequent violation is Christian business people and pastors who fly on Sundays, either to be home for work by Monday morning or ready to begin business in some other city. Is such travel using the day for God’s purposes? (p. 20)

In another sense, all of us are indirectly responsible for some employees, specifically the people who are working in service industries and businesses. These people in economic terms work as servants for the consumer. I worked my way through college and seminary by selling shoes. My managers constantly stressed that I was a servant to the customer. Likewise those who serve us in the public sector are our servants. We are to protect their Sabbaths as well as our own. Thus we need to avoid shopping, unnecessary dining out, {5} and recreational activities that cause others to work on the Lord’s day (this would include those events mediated by television, which necessitates hundreds of employees being at work). It is a lame excuse to say, ‘They are going to be there anyway, so it really doesn’t matter what I do.’ You are commanded not to cause others to do unnecessary work. If you use a person’s services, you are partly responsible for that person’s working on the Lord’s day.

{5} I recognize that those who are on trips may have to eat in a public facility on the Lord’s day, even as they may have to stay in a hotel. Interestingly the Puritans recognized this need as well. The Puritan-controlled Parliament in 1644, in a bill to regulate the Sabbath, added: ‘Provided, and be it Declared, That nothing in this Ordinance shall extend to the prohibiting or dressing of Meat in Private Families, or the dressing and sale of Victuals in a moderate way in Inns or Victualling Houses, for the use of such as otherwise cannot be provided for…’ quoted in [James T.] Dennison [Jr., The Market Day of the Soul: The Puritan Doctrine of the Sabbath in England 1532 – 1700], 94 (p. 50)

Source:, Comment 28


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