“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” -Exodus 20: 8
Wow, that sounds familiar. Anyone remember my experience with Judaism in April?
In the great Judeo-Christian tradition, Latter-day Saints keep the Sabbath on the seventh day of every week, namely Sunday. We understand via Jesus Christ that the Sabbath is for man’s benefit (Mark 2: 27). The benefits include:
- Taking rest from our labors, just as God rested from creation on the seventh day.
- Spending more quality time with our friends and family.
- Spending more time in study of the Scriptures.
- A time of increased prayer and spiritual nourishment. Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation. This is a time when we set aside the daily grind and refresh ourselves with a deeper connection with our Heavenly Father.
In April, I took Sabbath rest literally within the Jewish context of the Law. This rest included suspension of all phone and internet/computer usage for the day. Being away from Project Conversion is painful; I put about 100+ hours into this each week and I love every minute of the journey. On the other hand, I discovered the time away from the technical/social aspects of the site gave me a chance to wind down and focus on the important things in my life at the time: God and family.
To honor that Sabbath tradition, I will reinstitute a computer/phone/internet freeze on the Sabbath for this month (I know, I’m cheating today). I challenge you to do the same. Of course this might not include Sunday or even a whole day, but I recommend setting aside time every week or just everyday to detach from the rush of the world.
A unique aspect of the Sabbath in the Latter-day Saints tradition is “Fast Sunday.” Fast Sunday occurs one Sabbath each month (usually the first Sunday) and involves going without food and drink for two consecutive meals. In addition, one makes a “fast offering” in which members participating in the fast give an offering which totals the approximate cost of those two meals to the church. The church will then use those funds to provide food, clothing, shelter, and medical care to those in need.
Not a bad idea!
One of the most controversial concepts within the Christian tradition is the tithe. You might remember it: that rule about giving 10% to the church? The same rule applies with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however they differ in that there are no offering bowls passed around during service. The offering is discreetly made via envelope.
What many people often forget though, is that the tithe–in my opinion–doesn’t always require your money. My family and I are working on a budget that sets aside 10% of our income to give not only to church (or whatever I’m doing that month), but to a charity or cause. Perhaps a unique situation comes up where someone we know is hit hard by life. Bam. Guess where some of that 10% goes?
In this way, the tithe becomes a conscious action in our lives, not a cold and methodical process we perform out of habit. Saint Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
So my focus for the day? I purpose to spend time with God and family, to reconnect with and nourish those precious relationships we often cast aside and neglect throughout the busy week. Also, remember those in need, that we are all God’s children, and just as God wants us to be blessed, he wants us to bless those around us with our love, treasure, and time.