Sabbath Day Observance

Sabbath Day Observance
Elder Bien Aimé

I was born into a family of many children, and I remember being able to have open discussions with my mother.  One day, I asked her:” Mommy, why does one of my classmates always obtain the highest grades in class? “She looked at me and kindly replied:” Indeed, you are going to the same school; But he does something differently than you do. In fact, he goes to church every week, but you only attend Church sometimes.”

Since that day, I made a personal commitment to always attend church on Sunday so that I could do better at school. My grades became better because I did go to church regularly; although I did not always fully understand the teachings.

Later, I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where I was taught the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. I soon realized that going to Church was not only a matter of obtaining good grades at school, but was also a matter of giving priorities to God in our own lives. It is a matter of keeping the Sabbath Day holy [ See Exodus 20:8], a matter of partaking of the sacrament so that we might always remember Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and finally a matter of eternal life, which is the greatest gift of God to those that endure to the end.

Additionally, one of the greatest blessings I see in my life is to learn of Jesus Christ and His everlasting Gospel, and especially to keep His Sabbath Day holy.  My understanding of the purpose of the Sabbath Day increased also.

As we read in “Gospel Principles” we learn that:

“The purpose of the Sabbath is to give us a certain day of the week on which to direct our thoughts and actions toward God. It is not a day merely to rest from work. It is a sacred day to be spent in worship and reverence. As we rest from our usual daily activities, our minds are freed to ponder spiritual matters. On this day we should renew our covenants with the Lord and feed our souls on the things of the Spirit.”

In a teaching from Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85), then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, he said that Sabbath observance is an eternal principle, and noted five occurrences in the scriptures when observance of the Sabbath Day was required by the Lord:

  1. “From the day of Adam to the Exodus from Egypt, the Sabbath commemorated the fact that Christ rested from his creative labors on the 7th day (Ex. 20:8–11).”
  2. “From the Exodus to the day of [Christ’s] resurrection, the Sabbath commemorated the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage (Deut. 5:12–15).”
  3. “From the days of the early apostles to the present, the Sabbath has been the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, in commemoration of the fact that Christ came forth from the grave on Sunday (Acts 20:7).”
  4. “The Latter-day Saints keep the first day of the week as their Sabbath … because the Lord so commanded them by direct revelation (D&C 59).”
  5. “Sabbath observance was a sign between ancient Israel and their God whereby the chosen people might be known (Neh. 13:15–22; Isa. 56:1–8; Jer. 17:19–27; Ezek. 46:1–7)”

Today we are so blessed because God reveals to us, through the inspired program “Come & Follow Me”, one of the ways to worship Him on His day. This is a program that helps both individuals and families to care better for each other, to give our highest priorities to God, and as we do so it will also help us to prepare ourselves, our family members, and our neighbors for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

As I ponder my early years, I am grateful to my mother who helped me to be committed to attend Church every Sunday. Moreover, I am so grateful for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that helps me to deepen my knowledge in finding a better way to keep the Sabbath Day holy. And by renewing my covenants, I am also thankful for the Sabbath Day which is a delight in my life and the lives of my loved ones. I testify to you that the blessings and promises found in Isaiah (see Isaiah 58: 13-14[1]) can be yours if you accept this invitation to come and follow Him by keeping His day holy.

[1] 13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.