Are You Really Ready When Sabbath Comes?

The baths have all been taken. The shoes are standing in a neat row just inside the closet door, polished and ready to wear. The clothes are pressed. The house is shining, and from the kitchen still comes the aroma of freshly baked apple pies and homemade bread. Everything says, "Welcome, Sabbath day!"

THE last soft rays of the sun are fading in the western sky. Another busy week has come to a close and God's holy day of rest has begun.

The baths have all been taken. The shoes are standing in a neat row just inside the closet door, polished and ready to wear. The clothes are pressed. The house is shining, and from the kitchen still comes the aroma of freshly baked apple pies and homemade bread. Everything says, "Welcome, Sabbath day!"

Father calls the family together for sundown worship and one by one they appear and take their places. Mother drops into the nearest chair, exhausted from her day of Sabbath preparation. On the sofa sit three impatient, wiggling children. Father, too, is weary from the tensions and pressures that have threatened all day to engulf him. He slumps in his easy chair as he reads a brief story from one of the children's books and the family kneels to pray. The Sabbath has been ushered in not with singing and gladness, but with fatigued bodies and unprepared hearts.

Too often these circumstances are reflected in our homes and the day of rest reaches an anticlimax before it has scarcely begun. We forget that "we are robbing God when we unfit ourselves to worship Him upon His holy day," 1

In the flurry of preparing our homes and our persons for the Sabbath day, we neglect the heart preparation necessary to make the Sabbath a delight. Week after week this program is repeated and the close of the Sabbath leaves us with feelings of guilt and regret, yet always with a determination that "next week will be different."

With the firm intention that "next week will be different," must come a renewing of our hearts for "in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy." 2 The physical preparation alone is not enough; there must come also that preparation of the heart.

In order to bring our hearts in tune with the Sabbath, some personal sacrifices may be necessary. For example: A Friday shopping trip may have to be postponed, or we may have to forego the wearing of a new dress that we had hoped to have completed by the weekend. "All through the week we are to have the Sabbath in mind and be making preparation to keep it according to the commandment." 3

With dedication comes planning. It is helpful to set a time for the completion of all the Friday preparation. Plan to be ready for the Sabbath not later than one hour before sunset. (Early afternoon is better and the results will be extremely re warding.) A relaxed atmosphere one hour before the Sabbath begins provides time to "let go" of tensions and to set the thoughts in order.

The pressures of the Friday rush hour may also be eased by considering the fol lowing suggestions:

1. Do the heavy cleaning such as scrubbing, waxing, and general vacuuming on Thursday.

2. Try changing the beds on Wednesday, instead of Thursday or Friday.

3. Avoid washing and ironing on Friday, except in emergency. (Mothers of small children may find this impossible.)

4. Choose some day in the week other than Friday for the baking of bread and other time-consuming cooking. The home freezer is a convenience in Sabbath preparation.

5. If you have children old enough to help you, engage their help for an hour or two on Thursday and/or Friday.

6. Shop for groceries on Wednesday or Thursday. This will save precious time on Friday and also help you with your last-minute food preparation.

7. Reserve Friday for emergencies and finishing-up jobs. Telephone calls, unexpected visitors, baby's spilled milk on freshly waxed floors, plumbing difficulties, or a car that won't start, can make a wife into a spinning top if she has made no previous preparation for the Sabbath.

Preparing the heart to receive the blessings of the seventh day is a process of sanctification. "It takes moral courage, firmness, . . . and very much prayer" to keep the Sabbath day holy.4 However, "great blessings are promised to those who place a high estimate upon the Sabbath and realize the obligations resting upon them in regard to its observance." 5

Let us resolve to make the Sabbath a day of spiritual renewal and teach our children to love and honor the Lord's day.

 


 

REFERENCES


1. Child Guidance, p. 530.

2. The Desire of Ages, p. 283.

3. Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 353.

4. Evangelism, p. 240.

5. Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 702.


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November 1970

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