Sunday, February 6, 2011

Keeping the Sabbath Holy

Keeping the Sabbath day holy is one of the ten commandments given to Moses directly from God as recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Ten Commandments are recognized as a moral foundation in Judaism and Christianity since the time of Moses. Growing up, I was always taught by my leaders that to keep the Sabbath day holy was to treat it truly as a holy day. Setting it a part as a different day of the week which would mean not doing the activities you would normally do throughout the week. It's a day of rest and a day to give to the Lord. We should be serving him, thinking about him and spending quality time with our family helping them do the same. This is not easy to do when our minds our occupied with other things. With that said, it seems to becoming more of the norm to treat it like any other day of the week. For me, I never like to be part of the norm.

I have come to realize that I may be one of the very few people in the U.S who does not watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. My mom and my Dad were each having Super Bowl parties this weekend and invited me and my family. I kindly turned them down. My mom told me that half of her ward leaves church to watch it and the bishopbric watches as well. I remember when I was a youth and my leaders challenging us not to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. For me it seemed easy because I never was into football. I admired those leaders, (some who were high school coaches) who made it priority to keep the Sabbath Day holy. I wanted to emulate their example.

My mom was surprised this year when I told her I don't watch the Super Bowl. She said, "Well, I just watch it for the commercials. You're kids are missing out on some funny commercials." I responded that Super Bowl commercials are not for kids anyways. Beer, car commercials and pop star performances are not something I feel will invite the Spirit in my home. It's important for me to have the spirit in my home, especially on Sunday as it is a day for me to recharge spiritually. My mom said, "Well - I prayed this week, served some people and went to church so I think it's okay for me to watch the Super Bowl." I responded, "If I pray, serve and attend church throughout the week would it be okay for me to be dishonest for a day?" I think it is difficult for some to say, "Yes, I do my best to choose the right but I could do better".

I have taught my children that we should not watch sports games on Sundays as they take away from the Spirit and take the holiness from the Sabbath. If I were to make an exception for the Super Bowl what message would that send to my children? They would learn that it is okay to make exceptions in the gospel to make living it more convenient. Sometimes choosing the right isn't always the funnest, most convenient or popular thing to do. By doing so we show our Father in Heaven that we can sacrifice the things of this world for Him. Sacrifice is a God like quality that teaches us to be more like the Savior and our Father in Heaven. This is something we should strive to understand and practice.

Children are smart and they pick up on the errors of their parents. What they are taught now will shape who they become as adults and how they view the gospel - if they live it casually or faithfully. My husband still watches sports on Sundays and the Super Bowl. He has learned to watch it alone in another room and when he does this he misses out on family time. My children make note of this and always point out to him that he shouldn't watch his games. They have chosen to watch scripture cartoons and Jesus videos instead. They never complain. Sundays don't have to be boring. We play games, have hot chocolate tea parties, talk about the gospel and scrapbook family photos. We bond much better with each other and the Lord doing this vs. starring at a TV screen and being entertained. Being overcome by the Spirit never feels boring.

Breaking the Sabbath or not keeping it Holy does not make one evil or bad and it's wrong to judge others as such. To simply put it, choosing to sacrifice in the name of the Lord only makes us that much stronger and closer to Him. In the long run we are happier and blessed because of it.

As these end days we are living in become more chaotic and difficult to endure, let us be strong and not sit on the fence. If we are going to stand for something let's stand for it all the way or not stand for it at all. The Savior was the best example of this and offered up the greatest sacrifice known to man - himself. We are commanded to be more like the Savior. Let us try each day to show our love for him by trying to be like him. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

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