In D&C 59:10, the Lord revealed that we should “rest from [our] labors” on the Sabbath day (see also verse D&C 59:13). What does it mean to rest from our labors? How does resting from our labors show our devotion to God?
As part of resting from our labors, we should refrain from buying or selling, going to places of amusement, and other worldly interests on the Sabbath (see Isaiah 58:13, noting the phrases “turn away … from doing thy pleasure” and “not doing thine own ways”). What activities seem to take away from the spirit of the Sabbath for you? What are some worldly cares that tend to intrude on the Sabbath? How can we free ourselves from these cares?
Presiding Bishop H. David Burton said: “Now, I know it’s hard, particularly for our young people, to choose to observe the Sabbath day when athletic teams on which they so much want to participate regularly schedule games on Sunday. I too know it seems trivial to many who are in need of just a few items on the Sabbath to quickly stop at a convenience store to make a Sunday purchase. But I also know that remembering to keep the Sabbath day holy is one of the most important commandments we can observe in preparing us to be the recipients of the whisperings of the Spirit” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 9; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 9).
Resting from our labors does not mean we should be idle. Rather, we should follow the Savior’s example and “do well on the sabbath” (Matthew 12:12; see also Luke 13:10–17; John 5:1–19). What activities do you feel are good to do on the Sabbath? (List responses on the chalkboard.) How can we improve our personal worship time on the Sabbath?
President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important, but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, writing letters to missionaries, taking a nap, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day at which he is expected” (Ensign, Jan. 1978, 4).
How can we determine what is appropriate for us to do on the Sabbath? (Answers could include ensuring that our activities honor God, are spiritually uplifting, nurture faith, strengthen the family, help or bless others, and are set apart from the daily activities of the world.)
What are some ways we can strengthen our families on the Sabbath? How can parents help their children enjoy the Sabbath and keep it holy? (See the following quotations. Invite class members to share personal experiences related to these questions. Challenge class members to select one specific way they will make the Sabbath more meaningful for their families.)
President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Let the Latter-day Saints be in their homes, teaching their families, reading the scriptures, doing things that are wholesome and beautiful and communing with the Lord on the Sabbath day” (“Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, July 1996, 73).
President Hinckley also counseled: “Now I do not want to be prudish. I do not want you to lock your children in the house and read the Bible all afternoon to them. Be wise. Be careful. But make that day a day when you can sit down with your families and talk about sacred and good things” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 559–60).
The First Presidency gave the following counsel when announcing the consolidated Sunday meeting schedule in 1980:
“A greater responsibility will be placed upon the individual members and families for properly observing the Sabbath day. More time will be available for personal study of the scriptures and family-centered gospel study. …
“It is expected that this new schedule of meetings and activities will result in greater spiritual growth for members of the Church” (Church News, 2 Feb. 1980, 3).
The Sabbath should be a day of prayer (D&C 59:14). In what ways could we be more prayerful on this day? How can we make our prayers more meaningful?
What are some challenges to making the Sabbath day as meaningful as you would like? How are you working to overcome these challenges? How could careful planning help you eliminate or manage these challenges?