Lesson 29: Sabbath Observance

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, (1995), 120–22


Each young man will learn the benefits that come from proper Sabbath observance and how to determine appropriate conduct for the Sabbath day.


  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Exodus 16:22–30; 20:8–11; Isaiah 58:13–14; Mark 2:27; 3:1–5; and Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–13; 68:29.

  2. 2.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  3. 3.

    Write each of the case studies under “The Sabbath Is Made for Man” on a separate piece of paper.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Sabbath Is Made for Man

Scripture and discussion

Explain that the Sabbath was not designed to limit us but rather to bless us.

Have a young man read Mark 3:1–5.

  • Why was Jesus “grieved for the hardness of their hearts”? Have a young man read Mark 2:27.

  • What does this statement mean?

Let the young men give their opinions of what Jesus meant.


  • What is the purpose of the Sabbath? (It is a day to rest from normal daily labors, attend meetings, and get closer to God.)

Have the young men turn to Exodus 20:8–11 and read the commandment given to Moses and the children of Israel.

  • What does “thou shalt not do any work” mean?

Help the young men recognize that people should not generally work at their ordinary daily labors. Encourage the young men to mention some examples of people who usually do need to work, such as health, safety, and emergency personnel or people such as power plant operators. Help them understand that our choice to work on the Sabbath should be made according to the need to serve others.

Case studies

Distribute the case studies to various quorum members. Have a young man read each one. Then discuss each situation.

  1. 1.

    A snowstorm has blocked the driveways and walks of many elderly members of the ward.

    • Why would it be appropriate to clear the driveways before church services?

  2. 2.

    A young man has been working to get some of his nonmember friends interested in the gospel. One Sunday after church, they are all sitting around talking when one of the nonmembers suggests that they go to a movie. The LDS youth knows that he has been taught not to attend shows on Sunday. But he is also afraid that not going with his friends might offend them, and they would become more resistant to his efforts to get them interested in the Church.

    • What should he do? (He should not go. Altering his standards will weaken his position as he seeks to interest his friends in the Church.)

  3. 3.

    As a young man is going to church, he passes an old car with children in it and the parents standing beside the road. He is a good mechanic but will be late for his meetings if he stops.

    • What should he do? (Put the gospel into action and help where possible.)

You may have other examples you would like to use. Let the young men come up with a few situations to discuss.

Point out that the Sabbath is for man and that we give service when it is needed so that others are blessed. Help the young men understand that we should not create situations in order to justify breaking the Sabbath. Ask the young men for some examples when someone might violate the Sabbath and try to make excuses for doing it.

Discussion and adviser presentation

  • What is the Golden Rule? (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.)

  • Do you live according to the Golden Rule?

Help the young men understand that we should not cause someone else to do something we would not want to do ourselves. This principle also applies to the Sabbath. We should not have others work to furnish us pleasures or to provide services that we do not need.

  • How are we not living the Golden Rule if we do not want to work on the Sabbath and yet do shopping on the Sabbath?

Point out that the Lord has promised us that we can expect his help when we keep his commandments. We are sometimes tested to see whether we will keep his commandments. Explain that as we demonstrate our faith and love for him, we may have to pass up opportunities that seem to be to our advantage or seem fun. This may be difficult at times. Sometimes we may have to take a stand based on principles we know to be correct, though it is painful or unpopular. Usually people will respect us more; but even if they do not, we have an obligation to do the things we know are right.

Refer again to Mark 3:1–5.

  • What do you think the Lord was trying to teach by healing on the Sabbath?

Help the young men bring out that the Sabbath should be used for service and worship. It was never intended to use the Sabbath as an excuse to avoid rendering service to those in need. Help them understand that although some things must be done on the Sabbath, we must be careful not to look for excuses to do something that is not necessary or proper.

A Day of Rejuvenation

Adviser presentation

Explain that the Lord recognized that we need a day of rejuvenation, a change of pace, a day for us to physically, mentally, and spiritually renew ourselves. He gave us the Sabbath for that purpose. We often think of the Sabbath in terms of the “thou shalt nots,” but the Lord has also told us what we should do.

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men turn to Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–13, and have one of them read these verses. Suggest the young men mark these verses.

  • What do the terms sacraments, devotions, vows, and oblations mean?

Help the young men understand that these words mean attending church and partaking of the sacrament; worshiping in body, mind, and spirit; renewing covenants and coming closer to the Lord; and giving offerings to God of ourselves, renewing our commitment to do the most for God that we can.

  • How does proper Sabbath observance help to keep us “unspotted from the world”?

  • What does this scripture have to do with rejuvenation or renewing?

  • What are some of the things we can do on the Sabbath that will help us to renew ourselves for the coming week?

You might want to list their responses on the chalkboard. Answers may include praying, studying the scriptures, and attending meetings. Lead the discussion to include also some of the service activities we can do, such as visiting relatives, visiting the lonely, visiting the sick, writing letters, and helping family members. These things renew our spirits, make us feel good about ourselves and others, and bring the Spirit of God into our lives.

  • What are some practical examples of how keeping the Sabbath holy can help young people be more effective during the rest of the week? (Doing better in school and athletics, getting along with others, resisting temptation, and having greater peace and contentment.)


President Spencer W. Kimball gave the following suggestions for Sabbath activities:

“It is a day for reading the scriptures, visiting the sick, visiting relatives and friends, doing home teaching, working on genealogy records, taking a nap, writing letters to missionaries and servicemen or relatives, preparation for the following week’s church lessons, games with the small children, fasting for a purpose, writing devotional poetry, and other worthwhile activities of great variety” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], pp. 270–71).


Adviser presentation

Explain that Heavenly Father wants us to learn to do what is right. He does not want to have to tell us everything we should or should not do. We need to learn to make righteous decisions. Heavenly Father teaches us the general guidelines and then allows us to decide for ourselves.

Bring out that to help us decide what is right or wrong on the Sabbath, we should ask—

  1. 1.

    Is it consistent with Church teachings?

  2. 2.

    Does it do good to others?

  3. 3.

    Does it help keep us unspotted from the world?

Scripture and discussion

Have a young man read Isaiah 58:13–14.

  • What do you think it means to “call the sabbath a delight”?

  • What blessings are promised to those who keep the Sabbath day holy?

  • How have you or your family been blessed for honoring the Sabbath day?


Challenge each young man to list some good things he would like to do to rejuvenate himself spiritually and physically on this Sabbath day. Challenge him to try to continue to do those things every Sabbath.