Are we so busy all the time that we aren’t enjoying our lives?
Out of the seven periods of creation, God reserved the seventh one for rest. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:3, see also Moses 3:3, Abraham 5:3).
When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, their taskmasters “made their lives bitter with hard bondage” (Exodus 1:14). After setting them free, the Lord commanded them to intentionally set aside their work one day each week. “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work,” He said, “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work” (Exodus 20:10, Mosiah 12:17-18). He pointed to the precedent: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:11, Mosiah 12:19). The principle is clear: If you organize yourself, you can accomplish everything you need to in six days. You can afford to set aside your never-ending task list for one day each week and make that day special.
An important purpose of this commandment was to teach the Israelites how to stop being slaves. When Moses later reviewed this commandment as they prepared to enter the promised land, he added this instruction, “Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt…therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:15).
Commenting on this passage, President Russell M. Nelson said:
People who choose to work seven days a week are essentially in bondage—to work or perhaps to money, but they are slaves nevertheless. A millionaire who works seven days a week is a rich slave.“The Sabbath Is a Delight,” General Conference, April 2015, footnote 5
Isaiah taught that if we set aside our normal activities on the sabbath day, it can be “a delight” (Isaiah 58:13-14). President Nelson suggested some activities that can make the Sabbath day a delight for us:
- Participating in church meetings and fulfilling church responsibilities
- Strengthening family relationships
- Teaching the gospel in our homes
- Searching for and learning about our ancestors
- “Rendering service to others, especially those who are not feeling well or those who are alone or in need”
(“The Sabbath Is a Delight,” General Conference, April 2015)
Today, I will make the Sabbath a delight by setting aside my daily activities and focusing on worship, family, and service. I will remember that I am free to direct my schedule and that the Sabbath gives me an opportunity each week to intentionally pause and find joy.