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The Sabbath

The fourth commandment is to keep the Sabbath day holy. In order to do so, we must first examine our motivation for doing certain activities. Are we reading our biology textbook because we love to study about God's creations or because we procrastinated our homework all weekend? We must be sure that the reason we do something we normally wouldn't do on Sunday is that it is necessary or unavoidable. President Kimball wrote in an Ensign article, "The Savior knew that the ox falls in the mire, and one must pull the ox from the mire when necessary. But no one deliberately puts the ox in the mire every week, or lets him get in the mire with no effort to keep him out."

This may seem hard when we want to play all weekend. President Kimball noted, "Sometimes Sabbath observance is characterized as a matter of sacrifice and self-denial, but it is not so. It is merely a matter of scheduling and choosing seasons. There is time enough, particularly in our era of the world’s history, during the six days of the week in which to do our work and play. Much can be done to organize and encourage weekday activities, avoiding the Sabbath."

On Sundays when we do not have other responsibilities to take care of, we may want to just rest on the couch all day. However, "the Sabbath is not a day for indolent lounging about the house . . . . The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important, but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it." We need to lose our lazy and selfish motivations, as expressed in Isaiah 58:13-14.

The Sabbath will become a delight to us when we do activities that keep the day holy and bring us joy. In deciding what to do, we can rely on the "good, better, best" policy, which Elder Oaks introduced in General Conference October 2007: "We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives."

We can determine if an activity is good, better, or best by measuring it to the standards presented in D&C 59:9-12, the most important being "more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world." We must also remember that the Sabbath was made for us (Mark 2:27) as a day to evaluate and improve our spirituality, a day "for consistent attendance at meetings for the worship of the Lord, drinking at the fountain of knowledge and instruction, enjoying the family, and finding uplift in music and song" (President Kimball).

Challenge: Choose one bad or simply good Sunday activity you do to replace with a better or best activity. President Kimball recommended the following as the best Sunday activities: "[praying], preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, writing letters to missionaries, taking a nap, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day at which [we are] expected."

Comments

Anonymous said…
The Sabbath day is so wonderful - it relieves stress and helps you focus on love service joy and Jesus
it is a day of giving and receiving
DAD
Anonymous said…
I am glad that you understand the covenant regarding sabbath observance.
Mom

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