Brothers and sisters, we have been violating strict commands in our professed Sabbath-keeping. And when I say “we,” I am literally including my wife and I. You see, we have been technically cooking on Sabbath, speaking loudly to be heard from one room to the other, and running in the house. We have not taken the Sabbath seriously by studying it as we should. And today is a perfect day to repent of this. We have sinned, in violating God’s Holy Day. And to recognize where we have sinned is a condition to experiencing true revival.
Friends, every time we is heat up food, we somewhat cook it again. Yet we have supposed that we were Sabbath-keeping by not heating something new, but this is a rule and tradition of human devising. But we can have warm beans by cooking them in a crock pot on Preparation day and then leaving them on the “warm” setting (165+°F, well above what bacteria can tolerate) until we eat them on Sabbath; it just means that our warm food choices on Sabbath will be more limited.
But we really don’t need warm food on Sabbath, as Sister White states in the quote below. She also states elsewhere that we should be eating less anyways, so that our minds are clear to receive God’s Sabbath blessings for us. This is especially important, since even non-sedentary people who normally require more calories are sedentary on the Sabbath. Unleavened bread and fruit work well, but our conglomerate potlucks to which many of us are accustomed are a sham. Exceptions to not heating up food on the Sabbath may arise for feeding the sick or camping in cold weather; but anything outside of these exceptions for necessary health are unnecessary labor.
Everything must be tested by the Word. Where are we still falling short? God is waiting for a people ready to stand without a Mediator to stand for Him. Let us not consult our tastes but our Maker. Let us glory in following our Master in taking up the Cross. Heaven is cheap enough!
When the Lord said, “Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe,” he meant that Friday should be our preparation day, in which we are to do all our cooking. The Sabbath is not to be a day when titbits shall be prepared or cooked. If it is really essential to have beans on the Sabbath, let them be cooked on Friday, and kept warm in the oven. They need not be eaten cold unless preferred. But let no remarks be made as though it were a very light thing whether or not we regard the special requirements of God in regard to the Sabbath. It is not left for any man or woman to venture to disregard one requirement of God.
I see no question in this matter as to what we shall have on the Sabbath day. The food which we have provided on the preparation day can be placed on the table warm, especially in cold weather. In traveling, persons eat cold lunches for days together, and realize no inconvenience or harm. We want palatable, healthful food every day of the week; but upon the Sabbath, let your cook have her day of rest, in the place of cooking for a family. Let every provision be made on Friday. But do not let the Sabbath be regarded as a day in which to get something especially gratifying to eat. Educate your children and every member of the family to enjoy plain, simple food, and to be ready to receive the blessing which the Lord of the Sabbath is waiting to bestow upon all who are in an attitude to receive it. He has this for every one who shows his love for God in keeping holy the Sabbath day, God’s great memorial of creation. Speak softly, walk softly. Let not a word of lightness or trifling come from your lips. This is God’s day. He has blessed the seventh day, as his Sabbath, to be sacredly observed.
— E.G. White, Review and Herald, June 8, 1897