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The Sabbath and Oprah Winfrey

by Shelley Courtney

There's been a YouTube video making it's way around this week, of a recent interview between Oprah Winfrey and DeVon Franklin. Normally, an Oprah interview wouldn't spark me to blog, but this particular interview caught my attention.

DeVon, a Hollywood executive, really impressed me. It wasn't just because he was charming, well-spoken and respectful. It wasn't even because of his ambition, although admirable. The main reason I was so intrigued with DeVon, was because he has managed to stay true to his faith on his climb to success.

You see, DeVon is a Sabbath keeper.

Raised Seventh Day Adventist, DeVon made it known early on in his career, that he would be unable to take jobs if they compromised the Sabbath. His first interview was for an internship to actor Will Smith. During his interview with Oprah, he recalls his fears in mentioning the Sabbath to his potential employer--but he did--and was blessed with the job.

To Oprah (and to me as well), it was shocking that Hollywood would go along with such a thing! Apparently, it was to him too, but he tells her, "It made me realize that if I embrace who I am, it will open doors, not shut them." He continues by saying, "If your faith won’t fit in the door that opens, then I argue, do not walk through that door. The door that God has opened will fit your faith."

As a Sabbath keeper, I, along with others, have come face to face with circumstances like this where a choice had to be made: God and the Sabbath, or the way of the world. Hearing DeVon's words made me realize, that yeah, standing up for your beliefs does open doors. I might not have always gotten the results I wanted, but I got results nonetheless, and probably even better ones. Even still, for me, some of those challenges were hard--and I only live here in the real world--so the thought of keeping the Sabbath, while being employed by Hollywood blows my mind.

Yet DeVon manages to do it, successfully so, and his continued faithfulness continues to open doors. He is no longer an intern, but the vice president of production for Columbia Pictures. He also moonlights as a preacher, motivational speaker and author, when he's not making movies. His book, Produced By Faith, hit the shelves May 2011.

Even with all he has going on, he made it clear that the Sabbath was a special time for him, stating that it's the one day when he doesn't check his email or respond to work calls. "Sabbath is a time to recharge," he tells Oprah. "It’s a time to rest, a time to spend time with my family. It’s a time to spiritually reconnect. It’s incredible."

It was refreshing to hear such a success story, and just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it did. That high point was when Oprah Winfrey herself, openly admitted that she was misinformed regarding the Sabbath. “I just learned,” she said, “… all these years I thought the Sabbath was Sunday. I’ve been going to church. We say, ‘Worship on the Sabbath,’ … and you corrected me. You say, Sunday is the first day of the week, Sabbath is Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. I stand corrected.”


Her public confession, and new found knowledge, made me smile. It also reminded me of just how blessed I am to know about the Sabbath and the rest of God's truth. What a wonderful time it will be when the rest of the world will be blessed with that knowledge too!