Area Leadership Message

The True Meaning of the Sabbath

We can make the Sabbath day a delight by rendering service to others, especially those who are not feeling well or those who are lonely or in need.

Elder Thomas Hänni, Spain
Elder Thomas Hänni, Spain Europe North Area Seventy

Dear friends,

What a joy it is, to walk with you and with the Lord, all together the path of discipleship.

When Jesus visited the Nephites, he delivered a discourse similar to the Sermon on the Mount, emphasizing that things which were of old time, which were under the law, were fulfilled in Him [1]. The Lord’s statement given more than 2.000 years ago that Old things are done away, and all things have become new [2] are still resonating today. A higher “law” was given, a holier way of living was taught.

When Jesus was on the earth, He taught by relieving burdens and helping those in need. Some may think that our beliefs limit our agency and possibilities, but we all experience that the pure truth and doctrine given by the Lord makes us free and provides divine guidance, relief, and security in a turbulent world.

Jesus' teachings differed from those of the Pharisees, particularly in how to honor the Sabbath day. The Pharisees attempted to appear righteous, but their motives were impure. Jesus taught that doing good and helping people was more important than following strict interpretations of the law. He used healing miracles as an opportunity to teach about the true meaning of the Sabbath and the importance of compassion and love.

When Jesus said that 'the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,' [3] He meant that the Sabbath day is a precious gift from God, providing us with a break from the challenges of everyday life and a chance for physical and spiritual rejuvenation. The Sabbath is not a day to pursuit regular daily activities, but provides an additional opportunity for rest and solace, personal revelation through listening and learning of His word, and the chance of doing good and uplifting others.

Emphasizing strict and blind rules based on traditions and structures over eternal and true divine principles misses His divine purpose to help us to progress. When we center our lives on the Lord, His yoke becomes easy and His burden becomes light.[4] God gives us commandments, including the one to honor the Sabbath, not to oppress us but to bless us. The way to Heavenly Father is strait and narrow, but the Lord came to announce that we need not walk it alone. His invitation to all who feel 'heavy laden'[5] is to stand beside Him, to bind ourselves joyfully to Him, and to let Him share our burdens.

In Hebrew, the word Sabbath means “rest.” Yes, His promise is 'Ye shall find rest unto your souls.'[6]


Are we still making lists of to do’s or not to do’s for the Sabbath day? Or have we changed in and with Christ and are drawing with Heavenly Father’s help our own individual plan for the time before, during, and after the Sabbath day?

We can make the Sabbath day a delight by rendering service to others, especially those who are not feeling well or those who are lonely or in need. Lifting their spirits will lift ours as well.[7]

Let us connect with Heavenly Father all the time, but especially on the Sabbath day, both inside and outside the church building, in our homes and in the homes of our friends and families.

I am grateful for the opportunity to walk with you and with the Lord on the path of discipleship. I feel blessed having the Lord and you as my brothers and Sisters and friends on my side. I am thankful for the sabbath in my and in my family’s life. It helps us to spiritually re-connect and to spend time together that strengthens our love and bonds.

I would like to invite you to consider your ways when it comes to finding out individually for you to make the Sabbath day a delight. We need your helping hand and your loving smile in our Sunday meetings in our chapels. We cannot walk the path alone. May we continue to learn and apply His teachings in our lives and strive to honor the Sabbath day as a sacred gift from God. May we share this gift with others!

1. 3 Nephi 12:46

2. 3 Nephi 12:47

3. Mark 2:27

4. Matthew 11:30

5. Matthew 11:28

6. Matthew 11:29

7. Russel M. Nelson, “The Sabbath Is a Delight”, General Conference, April 2015