“Sabbath on the Ranch,” Ensign, June 1998, 57–59
When I was 14, our family moved to a small community in Oregon. Although jobs were scarce there, my father found a job at a sawmill 30 miles from our home. The work was hard and didn’t pay enough to support our family, and he came home exhausted every day. After work he attended to his duties as branch president. He often said that his body wasn’t up to the demands he was putting it through, but with the Lord’s help he would succeed.
At family home evening one night, we discussed the situation and decided my siblings and I, five of us in all, would go to work in the fields. It was harvest time, and we soon found employment on a farm. To make ends meet, Dad committed to work there too. The harvest had been slowed by rain that year, and it had come to the point where the crop either had to be harvested by the next day, Sunday, or it would probably mildew and rot. The farm owner, Mr. Cobine, came around to each of the workers and told us to plan on working the next day. Our family had always observed the Sabbath, but not wanting to upset Mr. Cobine, I simply nodded my head when he asked me to work the next day.
As I watched the owner turn to go ask my father the same question, I followed him and hid myself so I could hear them talking. Mr. Cobine told my dad he would have to work on Sunday. My father stopped picking. He looked up at the owner and asked him if he could talk with him for a few minutes. Reluctantly, the owner agreed.
In a kind voice my father explained that the Lord provides everything we have. He told Mr. Cobine that keeping the Sabbath day holy was a commandment and counseled him not to anger the Lord by harvesting on Sunday. My father went on to testify that the Lord would provide—his men should not have to work on this or any other Sunday. He even invited the owner to attend Church services with our family.
To my astonishment, after asking Dad a few questions, the owner accepted his counsel about the Sabbath and asked his workers to wait until Monday to come back to work. I could not have been prouder of my dad, but I was also concerned. I thought to myself, How can my father promise him that the Lord will provide?
Then I said a silent prayer to Heavenly Father to help my dad.
The crop harvested on Monday was abundant and of an unusually high quality. To my amazement, there was no sign of mildew damage or decay. So many workers showed up for the picking that the harvesting was completed in record time. The Lord had, indeed, provided bountifully.
That summer the ranch produced more than it had in any other year. Mr. Cobine repeatedly thanked my father for his counsel and guidance. Even though he didn’t consider himself a religious person, he believed that the Lord had blessed him for keeping the Sabbath day holy.
The lesson I learned that day from my father’s courage to stand up for what he believed has stayed with me. The Sabbath is a holy day and not one to be used in pursuit of the things of this world; it’s a day for us to become closer to our Heavenly Father.