I used to hate being different.
My first six years of education were at a government primary school. My brother and I were the only Adventists at the school, and I quickly learned that our lifestyle was pretty different to the other kids. My friends got to play netball on Saturdays, for instance, while I had to go to church. And being vegetarian was not as mainstream as it is today. We were considered a bit odd.
The high school years were a little easier as we went to an Adventist school. During the school hours there were kids like us. What a relief! But we had quite a trek getting to and from school—catching two trains and two buses. As we were the only Adventists in our suburb, we travelled with kids from other schools. We became known as the “Marmites”, presumably because of the Church’s link with Sanitarium. “Hey Marmite!” they’d call out on the bus to the delight of their sniggering friends. Now, if I was an assertive teenager, the comments would have been brushed off with a witty retort. But I wasn’t. I was shy and introverted, and the teasing made me feel embarrassed. I wanted to be like everyone else.
Fast forward a few years and I have come to realise how being “different” has been a real blessing in my life. And I appreciate the fact that by being different, the Church has been a trailblazer. Particularly in the area of health, the Church has led the way in encouraging a plant-based diet, getting adequate water, exercise and sunlight, and abstaining from tobacco and other drugs. The rest of the world is catching up with ideas we have been promoting for decades.
Sabbath, too, is a wonderful blessing. It may make us different to other Christian churches, and that’s okay. Indeed, the Sabbath is probably more relevant than ever in this era of burnout and disconnection. Here at Adventist Media, we believe the Sabbath is something to celebrate and it’s time others knew about it. We are working on a campaign to share the benefits of this special day with the wider community. We would love all of you to be involved, so stay tuned. We’ll be sharing more in coming weeks.
I used to hate being different—but I now know that having a point of difference can be a very good thing.