What if…

Yesterday in church, a woman spoke of her childhood. She grew up in Pennsylvania in a small town that saw a surge in population when it became a large oil mine, before oil was discovered in Texas.

She remembered the whole town being closed Sundays. Not one store open for business. Everyone would be found in a church of some kind, worshipping God. Then, as she grew older, something changed. Her account was vivid. She said that Kmart was the first of the local businesses to open their doors on Sunday. Soon after, other businesses in the town followed.

A telling correlation was made with the opening of these businesses on the Sabbath. People stopped attending church. I found this fascinating. All I could think of for the rest of the meeting was “what if…”

What if…what if businesses went back to the way things once were? Where would people go? What would they do? Sure television would keep most busy for the day. But do you think people would find the time to attend church in greater number? I can’t help but think optimistically of such a possibility.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” the Lord said. It’s so easy to forget that commandment nowadays. There are lots of distractions, even for those like myself who attend church each week. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is so much more than just church attendance.

President Russell M. Nelson described his experiences with the Sabbath day as a day of “personal healing.”

“I first found delight in the Sabbath many years ago when, as a busy surgeon, I knew that the Sabbath became a day for personal healing. By the end of each week, my hands were sore from repeatedly scrubbing them with soap, water, and a bristle brush. I also needed a breather from the burden of a demanding profession. Sunday provided much-needed relief.”

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Sunday is a sacred day. A day to worship God, to give thanks, to rest from our normal labors and schedules. It’s a day for families to spend time together without the distraction of work or other things that could be considered more important.

What can we do to make Sunday more holy, for ourselves and for others? For me, I need to give more time to my family. Help my wife more with our son to give her a much needed and deserved break. As for myself, I need to spend more time with God—in prayer, and in the scriptures. Doing these things in addition to attending and serving in church helps to, as Isaiah taught, make the Sabbath “a delight.”

God knows each of our needs in great detail. The idea of having one day each week for “personal healing” is not without purpose. It’s a day for us to focus on the things that matter most—relationships.

Thought my “what if” scenario may never happen in our current society, it is possible to close all of the stores in your area individually. My goal is to close other distractions, like my phone, and tv shows, so I can spend more time with my family and actually be engaged in the activities, rather than just being there on my phone. This will, I know, provide the “personal healing” that I need.

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