A Sabbath Day Breakdown


Several years ago my car broke down on the side of the road while coming home from church. My wife and I were stranded. Fortunately I was able to get a hold of one of my sons and we were rescued. Later he and I returned to the scene of the “breakdown” and tried to fix it.  Alas, the car ended up needing to be towed to a local service station where they repaired it the next morning. I guess I could have left it on the side of the road overnight in respect for the Sabbath day. Ironically, the lesson that day in Sunday School had been on Sabbath day observance. In that lesson we discussed many of the teachings of modern apostles and prophets concerning it. Even with their council regarding proper observance, what is appropriate or not, in the above described situation is a matter of opinion or interpretation. The old standby scripture of the “ox in the pit” (Luke 14:5), or giving of food and water to an ox (Luke 13:15) comes to mind when dealing with emergencies. Each person may have their own feeling regarding this issue and be correct depending on the situation. The broader issue of the Sabbath day goes back to the creation of the world when the Lord “rested” on the Seventh day from all his work. Not only did he rest, but he “sanctified” it. (Genesis 2:3). He pronounced it a day of worship.

Through the centuries, God’s chosen people started to “expand” the definition and “rules” of what you could or couldn’t do on the Sabbath. By the time the Savior was born its observance had reached an almost absurd level. The Savior himself fell under criticism for “healing” on the Sabbath, prompting him to say “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”. (Mark 2:27). The Jewish leaders and people had fallen into living “the letter of the law”, but not the spirit. After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ the followers of the Savior changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday in commemoration of his resurrection. A second point that is not often discussed, is that the changing of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday was a way of changing the habits and traditions of the people regarding its observance. Thus, a change of day provided the converting Jews an ability to look at the Sabbath day in a new light. It gave them a clean break away from the traditions of their fathers.

Like the Jews, many of us, over time, may have fallen into bad Sabbath habits that need to be broken. Often, the best way to accomplish such, is to have a “clean” break. Perhaps we are too lax on some points of Sabbath worship, or perhaps there may be some “letter” issues that need to be looked at. Either way, it would do us all well to contemplate how we spend the Sabbath and fine tune it so that we can make better use of this precious day.


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