Keep The Sabbath Holy

by Andrew Lamont

Setting time aside every week to rest, regroup and focus on my relationship with God is not something I’ve every found easy. In fact, for many years, the Sabbath was the busiest day of my week.

In 2023, my tendency to cram as much into my schedule as I could took its toll. I hit burn out hard. Trying to juggle a job with full-time study, two busy and responsible church callings, family, turbulent mental health, exercise, as well as a busy social schedule became an impossibility.

With a hitherto unprecedented dip in mental health, with pretty dangerous lows, I pushed on, trying my best to keep on top of everything I’d been doing. Because of my lack of energy, low mood and a distinct lack of motivation, things started to slip. Though I was still going full steam ahead, none of my responsibilities were carried out effectively or efficiently. So, shame heaped on top of the pile.

I prayed constantly for more energy, for things to turn around, and received no miraculous boost. Instead, I received the same response: “Keep the Sabbath holy.” I was irritated. With the attitude of a spoiled child, I took this to mean God wasn’t answering my prayer, and wasn’t offering help.

Instead of heeding the instructions given, I dug my heels in and resorted to working twice as hard, despite experiencing less than half the productivity I could usually expect.

Before long, it was obvious to a lot of people I was struggling to keep on top of everything. People at work were noticing something was up, and someone close to me, whose advice I value greatly, also suggested to me that I keep the Sabbath holy.

Embarrassingly, I was reluctant at first because I found it so counterintuitive to take a day to rest and focus on the Lord when there was so much going on. Nevertheless, after feeling a disconnect with the Spirit, especially on the Sabbath, I started following the promptings.

Almost immediately, I felt rejuvenated, my mind clearer to organise and plan my time. Intentionally keeping my focus on the Lord and His gospel on the holy day brought great blessings, temporal and spiritual.

Heavenly Father blessed me with an increase in energy, a strengthened ability to effectively manage my time, and a deepened relationship with Him and Jesus Christ. The Lord gave me a much greater appreciation for the blessing of the Sabbath, and a testimony of the words spoken by the Saviour Himself: “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).

Elder H. Aldridge Gillespie taught: “What does that mean? It means for a man to have the joy and happiness which the gospel promises, on this day he must sacrifice the world, set aside his employment as possible, and keep the eternal covenant of the Sabbath day.” (The Blessing of Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy - October 2000 General Conference)

I testify the Sabbath can become a joy if we let it. We can come closer to Jesus Christ by keeping it holy. As we sacrifice by doing so, we will receive blessings and the windows of Heaven will be opened for our benefit. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.