Sunday, June 28, 2015
Sabbath Day Observance
This week, I had an accident with my phone. It accidentally fell in some water. I grabbed it as fast as I could and dried it off. Dave put it into a container of rice all night and I went to bed with great hopes that it would be okay the next day.
In the morning, I retrieved my phone from the rice and it seemed to turn on just fine, but it started to act up soon after. The audio function, Siri, kept trying to hear messages from me and to respond. And it would not go back to the Home screen, no matter what I did. I prayed and prayed for help. This device is truly a huge part of my life for the same reasons you use a calendar, bank, journal, scriptures, device to communicate to your family and friends, etc. While praying, I had the distinct feeling that everything would be okay, so I clung to that feeling with all my heart.
I got down on my knees and asked the Lord what I needed to learn from this experience and I waited and listened, but no answer came just yet.
Dave came in from exercising and began to work with it, but the noise and the implication that I might lose it, was bothering me so much that I contemplated leaving our room to continue with my task in another room.
Suddenly, a small voice came to me to trust what Dave was doing. I thought this might mean that he was going to fix it. I put my trust in this thought. But after some time he laid it down and said that the Home Button is the only thing that was not working. I let that sink in and I pondered it. Some thoughts started forming in my mind. “The Home Button” does not work. The quote, “No amount of success can compensate for failure in the Home,” came to me and I pondered even more. Was this my answer for knowing what I needed to learn from this experience? I pondered some more.
When our Home is not working, as it should, it affects every aspect of our lives. This lesson hit me right where it hurt the most. I have allowed us to move out of a spiritual center for reasons you may understand with our busy circumstance (two girls to prepare to leave for the MTC, a wedding, a new grand baby soon to be born and my parents’ 50th to plan and carry out. I have been allowing poor behavior from all of us, including me, for the last 6 weeks, which has been forming a habit that has grown and strengthened. I grow weary and I react poorly each day. I am realizing that I need to focus on my own “home button” right now and get things in order so that we can have a successful home, which in turn, allows us to be successful outside the home.
I would like to focus on one aspect of our “home buttons” and that is Sabbath Day Observance. If you will, put all your previous perceptions away. Let us clear our minds of those preconceptions and follow the counsel in D&C 136:32 “Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself.”
We are commanded to “observe the Sabbath day, and keep it holy” (Mosiah 18:23).
To keep it holy means to dedicate or consecrate all we do to the Lord. Most of our lives we have talked about and written our own lists of things we should do or not do on the Sabbath day for the purpose of keeping it holy. However, this is a happy day for all of us. We can throw those lists away. They are limiting and restrict us from truly keeping the Sabbath Day Holy.
In the recent General Authority training, Elder Nelson admitted that he threw his lists out long ago when he came across these two scriptures from the Old Testament. Listen for the repeated word “sign” in both and ponder what it might mean for you.
Exodus 31:13 “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.”
Ezekiel 20:20 “And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.”
Thus, it is that the Sabbath observance is a literal “Sign” between us and the Lord. And when we add to it the truth taught by John the Beloved, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” then we understand that keeping the Sabbath Day holy is a clear sign to the Lord that we love Him, “with all [our] heart, and with all [our] soul, and with all [our] mind” (Matthew 22:37)
Elder Nelson tells us that “All we have to do is decide what sign we want to give to God.” No more lists. What is the sign we will choose?
The Sabbath, when kept, is a sign of the covenant.
D&C 59:9-10 “That thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High.”
Isaiah 58:13-24 “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight…not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then Shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.”
Did you notice the repeated word “Delight” in that last verse? This is the spirit in which we shall call the Sabbath. It is a delight and we will delight the Lord in the sign we are giving him.
This sign, which is a covenant, is our very own way we can show the Lord how we love him. Think of the ways you serve and love your family members, whether during Christmas time, birthdays or any regular day that you try hard to serve and love them. In this same spirit, the Sabbath is our way to love the Lord and show him our commitment to the covenant we have made with him.
Teaching our Families
We have just been learning about a personal way to keep the Sabbath day, but now let us focus on how to magnify this within our families.
Elder Bednar addressed the same group in the General Authority training; he talked of the importance of families to powerfully teach each other to observe the Sabbath day. He said,
“The Biggest losses [of our members] occur between baptism and receiving the Endowment…of all the things that we know; of all the reasons that contribute to that rupture, first, foremost and most powerful, is weak gospel teaching and modeling in the home. Thus, living the Savior’s Gospel in the home is essential in creating and maintaining multi-generational families.
Now, I am well aware that gospel discussion is not always an exciting prospect with our family members. Hannah hinted at that a little bit, and I can appreciate that. I have been in her place. However, trying always is the difference between weak and powerful gospel teaching and modeling. I testify that prayer and pleading for help in this matter is essential and does work.
Elder Bednar has said that knowledge is what we know in our mind. Understanding is when we take that knowledge down into our heart. Intelligence is when we apply the knowledge and understanding. Usually, in our church classes (primary, Sunday School, Priesthood, Relief Society and YM and YW) we get the knowledge through the lessons, but it is not until we discuss, inquire, teach and learn that we get the understanding in our hearts. It is imperative that we, as parents, grandparents, aunts and Uncles, teachers and so forth, and especially in the home environment, that we have those discussions for the sole purpose of helping that knowledge meet understanding in the heart. Then and only then, can we hope for the intelligent action, or the full application of knowledge and understanding.
Casual discussions with our family members on Sunday, whether at meal time or some other special time, has the power to help that knowledge become an understanding of the heart and then, in each individual life and in their specific circumstances the application of gospel truth will occur. (Elder Christopherson)
These colloquial discussions and experiences not only help knowledge find understanding and application, but will enrich the teaching and learning in the next week at Church and thus we begin to see the fruits of powerful teaching and modeling in the home.
Brothers and sisters, It is my prayer that we will help our “home buttons” function to their fullest. That we may set aside those limiting lists of to do’s and not to do’s and that we may choose our very own sign that shows our greatest love and desire to keep the covenant with the Lord. That we may continue the dialogue with our children each Sunday to create a powerful teaching and learning aspect in our homes, is my prayer for all of us. In the name of Jesus Christ, who strengthens us, Amen.