The Sabbath provides us with rest for mind and body, with opportunities for worship, and with time to give loving service to our fellowmen. By using the Sabbath wisely to rest, worship, and serve, we can receive temporal blessings and develop great spiritual strength.
Have family members read and compare Exodus 20:8–11 and Mosiah 13:16–19. Point out that the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy is found in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon and has always been part of the gospel. The Lord consecrated the Sabbath as a day for remembering the great work of the Creation.
Explain that the Lord commanded the children of Israel to keep the Sabbath day holy in commemoration of his mighty power, which delivered them from the bondage of Egypt. Read Deuteronomy 5:12–15.
To help your family members understand that in our day we have also been commanded to keep the Sabbath day holy, read and discuss Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–19. Ask them to identify what is being asked of them and what blessings are promised in return.
What are you asked to do? (See verses 9–15.)
What temporal blessings are promised? (See verses 16–19.)
What spiritual blessings are promised? (See verse 9: “Keep thyself unspotted from the world.”)
Discuss how keeping the Sabbath day holy can keep us unspotted from the world.
Bear your testimony of the blessings that come from keeping the Sabbath day holy. Relate the following incident or a personal experience like it:
John and Mary had been married fourteen years and still didn’t have a home of their own. They had just gone through a particularly difficult business year, and had been turned down on a loan application for a modest house. John was brokenhearted. Then he happened to read in Doctrine and Covenants 59 where the Lord promises to all those who keep the Sabbath day holy:
“The fulness of the earth is yours, …
“… whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns” (verses 16–17; italics added).
He resolved to put this scripture to the test, and asked the Lord to help him and his family keep the Sabbath day holy and to help them buy their own home. Thirteen months later they were led by inspiration to visit their old neighborhood, where they saw a “For Sale” sign on one of the houses. They called the owner, who knew them, and he offered to let them move into the home, buy it on a contract, and pay the down payment when their business improved. They knew the Lord meant what he said when he promised them “the fulness of the earth” for keeping the Sabbath day holy.
Ask your family to suggest ways to observe the Sabbath day.
Help them understand that a balance of rest, worship, and service is necessary to keep the Sabbath day holy. To determine whether a specific activity is appropriate, ask, “Does it bring me closer to my Heavenly Father?”
Read Doctrine and Covenants 59:12–13. Note the footnote on the word oblations in verse 12; oblations means “offerings, whether of time, talents, or means, in service of God and fellowman.”
Read the following quotation by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“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.” (“The Sabbath—A Delight,” Ensign, Jan. 1978, p. 4.)
List the three aspects of keeping the Sabbath day holy defined in these passages:
Rest from labors
Offerings of service
Considering the activities family members mentioned earlier as being appropriate for the Sabbath, have them list those and other Sabbath activities under each category—rest, service, and worship. You might include the following:
Eat light meals
Cook on Saturday
Clean on Saturday
Take a nap
Write letters to loved ones and missionaries
Visit family members
Visit a sick friend
Ponder the sacrament prayer more reverently
Ponder the mighty power and works of God
Read the scriptures
Try in every way to feel closer to Heavenly Father
Discuss how a wise Heavenly Father showed his love for us by giving us a day we could devote to rest, service, and worship.
Invite each family member to choose one activity from each category to concentrate on during the next Sabbath.
Discuss with young children the difference between holy days and holidays, and list appropriate activities for each. Ask them to choose a holiday activity the whole family can participate in during the coming week. Then decide how the family can keep Sunday a holy day, not a holiday.
Genesis 2:1–3 (God blessed the seventh day.)
Isaiah 56: 1–8 (All are expected to keep the Sabbath day holy.)
Isaiah 58:13–14 (Those who keep the Sabbath holy receive a promise.)
Jeremiah 17:19–27 (Importance of the Sabbath in ancient Israel.)
Nehemiah 13:15–22 (Ancient Israel told to honor the Sabbath.)
Mark 2:27 (The Sabbath is made to help us.)
Doctrine and Covenants 68:29 (We are to keep the Sabbath day holy.)
See also “Sabbath” in the Topical Guide.
“Saturday,” Children’s Songbook, p. 196.
“Gently Raise the Sacred Strain,” Hymns, no. 146.
“Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning,” Hymns, no. 280.
Gospel Principles, “The Sabbath Day,” chapter 24.