After the most recent General Conference in April, my uncle, a member of the second quorum of the 70, told us that their training meetings specifically, and almost exclusively, focused on one topic to teach about as the travel around the units of the church all over the world. I had the opportunity to hear Elder Rasband, the Senior President of the Presidency of the Seventy, speak in a sacrament meeting a couple weeks ago and he spoke on the same topic emphasizing it’s importance. This Sunday our High Councilman spoke on the same topic for his address and specified we would be hearing more on this topic.
The topic that is the focus of such attention and concern is the 4th commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You may even remember that Elder Nelson closed the April Conference with a talk on the Sabbath day.
There so many things out there that are overwhelming and feel so urgent, addiction, breaking down of families, danger to religious freedom, etc. Why should focus on Sabbath day observance supersede all these other things? Since April, when the emphasis on this topic was originally introduced to me, I have been thinking about why this is something so strongly focused on. I have come to hypothesize that if we are truly making our Sundays a proper day of worship we will increase obedience in many other areas.
To truly keep the Sabbath day holy, a person would strive to:
- Be a full tithe payer
- Be repentant
- Properly prepare, spiritually and physically, to partake of the sacrament ordinance
- Be prayerful
- Study the scriptures
- Attend all meetings
- Observe and keep covenants, including attending the temple
- Accept and fulfill callings
- Nurture family relationships
- Receive personal revelation
- Participate in a proper fast
- Serve others
- Take time to ponder and self reflect
Just to name a few! Properly observing the Sabbath day is an umbrella that covers a multitude of attitudes and behaviors that lead to true conversion, and bring us closer to, and to become more like, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Remember, immediate adherence and perfection is not expected, we only need to continually work toward that goal.
As I think about what keeping the Sabbath day holy entails, it sounds very busy and full! “God’s work is the sanctification of His children to the point where they can enter into the ultimate rest, which is the fullness of His glory. Once each week man is commanded to cease his own labors and allow God to perform His work of the sanctification on him. Resting on the Sabbath, then, implies far more than taking a nap or stopping normal activities. Mankind must enter into the Lord’s work on that day. This work involves making themselves and others more godlike, another way to speak of sanctification. Doing the work of the Lord (sanctification) often involves great activity on the Sabbath day, and the day not be restful in the usual sense.” (Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis – 2 Samuel, p. 130, emphasis original)
Keeping the Sabbath day holy is not something I have personally focused on much, and there is room for improvement. I need to increase my obedience on the Sabbath day, not out of duty, but because I love God and want to become more like Him. I am excited to strive to be obedient to the counsel of my leaders by increasing my personal observance of the Sabbath day.