For most everyone in this very large world Commandment number eight doesn’t seem hold quite the same meaning as it did many years ago. In Exodus 20:8 we read, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
Sounds simple enough, right? The problem with the idea of keeping the Sabbath Day holy is it all depends on how each individual person defines one word – holy.
One of my favorite descriptions lies in Websters Collegiate Dictionary, specifically definition #3: ‘devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity.’ Why do I love this so much? Because it describes beautifully the way we should treat the Sabbath Day.
Becoming devoted to the deity is easier than you might think. One of the best and most fulfilling ways is to go to church. For those of us in the LDS Church this contains three meetings. First is Sacrament Meeting where we partake of the sacrament, and are then taught by leaders and members of the congregation. We also go to Sunday School for those twelve and older where we can learn more of the scriptures, and Primary for those eleven and under. The last hour is for personalized lessons to help us make good decisions in our lives. For the men this is called Priesthood Meeting, for the women Relief Society. The youth 12-18 go to Young Men’s or Young Women’s.
Makes for a good three hours of worship, don’t you think? I certainly do, but our Sunday worship shouldn’t stop there. Many of our youth and leaders have meetings (think Bishop’s Youth Council, or taking the sacrament to the home-bound), which can take up another good portion of the day.
What about all those other hours between the time we wake up and the time we go back to bed? When you look at the second part of our definition, we have an answer: devote our time to the work of the deity.
What did Christ spend most of his adult life doing? Serving others. Healing. Teaching.
I would invite you to look up Luke chapter 12 and read the full account. The Pharisees, who really didn’t like Jesus, decided to try and trick him. Jesus had just entered into a synagogue where the Pharisees followed. Within this synagogue lay a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees thought to lay a trap for Christ and challenged him in verse 10 saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?”
I’m certain Christ knew exactly what these men were doing, and asked his own question in verse 11-12. “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.”
To show he meant what he said, Christ healed the injured man’s hand. He then left the synagogue and spent the rest of the Sabbath Day working miracles.
I realize the opportunity for us to work miracles on Sundays isn’t within the realms of reality. We can, however, find other means of keeping this most sacred day separate and infinitely more special from all others.