(This is Part IV of a five part series on The Sabbath)
To Rest From our Labors
Elder Perry said, “Sometimes we think of resting from our labors as merely letting the hay baler stand idle in the field or putting a Closed sign on the business door.” President Kimball said, “Abstinence from work and recreation is important, but insufficient.”
Our “work” these days is often done in the home, from the home, and sometimes it is hard to stay away from those work related activities in our homes. There are also other types of “work” we must rest from. “business activities we may accomplish from home, athletic competitions, and other pursuits that take us away from Sabbath day worship and the opportunity to minister to others.” I think that Elder Perry’s description of “work” can help us make our own judgments about what we should and should not do on the Sabbath. Anything that “takes us away from Sabbath day worship and the opportunity to minister to others” is probably not an appropriate activity for the Sabbath.
President Kimball warned, “Strange as it may seem, some Latter-day Saints, faithful in all other respects, justify themselves in missing their church meetings on occasion for recreational purposes, feeling that the best fishing will be missed if one is not on the stream on opening day or that the vacation will not be long enough if one does not set off on Sunday or that one will miss a movie he wanted to see if he does not go on the Sabbath.” Anything that takes us away from Sabbath worship is not keeping the Sabbath day holy, for sure. Our place is in our meetings on the Sabbath day – particularly sacrament meeting, but also Sunday School and Relief Society and Priesthood meetings.
I know some people (I won’t name names…) who like to nap all Sunday afternoon, or sleep in Sunday morning if they have afternoon Church meetings, but President Kimball says, “The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it.” What? It’s breaking the Sabbath to lounge around? I thought we were supposed to “rest from our labors”?
A few weeks ago we studied the Gospel Principles lesson on the Spirit World and one of the characteristics of the Spirit world is that “The spirit world is a place of waiting, working, learning, and, for the righteous, resting from care and sorrow.” It seems contradictory to talk about “working” and “resting” in the same sentence, but that is exactly what the Spirit world will be like – we will rest from care and sorrow (from worldly things) and yet we will be working to save souls. Do you see the parallel with the Sabbath? On the Sabbath we rest from worldly pursuits and instead focus all our efforts on spiritual pursuits.
Taking a nap to rejuvenate your body and mind is obviously very appropriate for the Sabbath, but if your nap is three hours long you are probably missing out on “the opportunity to minister to others” on the Sabbath. And if you are needing a nap or to sleep in because you were out partying all night long on Saturday, or because you stayed up late Saturday night playing videos games or watching movies, then that is not really a good reason for a nap. Our preparation for the Sabbath day begins on Saturday. Remember that Primary song? “Saturday is a special day it’s the day we get ready for Sunday.” My family used to sing that song on Saturday as we did chores around the house getting it ready for the Sabbath. We try to retire early on Saturday night so that we will be rested and refreshed for the Sabbath day.
How do you rest on the Sabbath day? Do you choose only activities that will allow you to attend your meetings and that will allow you to find opportunities to minister to others?