Whenever I think about that, I am reminded of a story from my childhood.
Every family has different rules on what is appropriate to do on the Sabbath. Some people don't have any rules at all, but when I was growing up, my parents set certain guidelines about what they wanted their children to do on Sunday.
We weren't allowed to play with friends or to play sports. It was supposed to be family time, and it was supposed to involve calmer activities. We only watched certain shows (mainly Christ-centered), and we always attended church.
One Sunday, the neighbor kids were playing baseball in their backyard. We would often watch them playing through the adjoining fence, and we were very close. This particular Sunday, they invited me to come play, and I chose to do so. I was fairly young at the time (younger than 10), and the temptation seemed too great for me.
In doing so, I broke two of my parents' rules. I had a really good time for a while, and then it was my turn to bat. One of the neighbor boys was playing catcher and he was standing at my left. I was holding their metal bat and I was ready for the pitch. When the oldest son threw it to me, I closed my eyes and swung with all my might.
I heard a crack, and excitedly, I opened my eyes to see how far I had hit the ball. Unfortunately, it wasn't the ball that I hit. It was the younger boy's head. The older brother was furious at me, and accused me of doing it on purpose because I was smiling. I quickly explained that I was smiling because I thought I had hit the ball, and they took the crying youngster in the house. I went home feeling miserable.
The boy that I hit ended up having to go to the hospital, but he turned out to be okay. I was very grateful that I hadn't hurt him too badly.
My sister the other day told me that she had learned another lesson from my story. She explained that she had realized that when we don't keep the Sabbath Day holy, we lose the protection from the Lord. I had never thought about it that way before, but she is absolutely right.
Just as with all of the commandments, if we are keeping them, we are protected. If we disobey, we lose that protection and we may fall prey to temptations or other trials that we otherwise wouldn't have had to experience.
In a recent talk by Elder Nelson called "The Sabbath is a Delight," he says:
How do we the Sabbath day? In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things to do on the Sabbath. It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a between me and my Heavenly Father.12 With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, “What do I want to give to God?” That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear.I still don't always do the best at keeping the Sabbath Day holy, though I am trying to improve. I know that keeping the Sabbath Day holy is still a commandment from the Lord.
When I was going to college, I worked at a zoo, and I had to work alternating Sundays (the animals still had to eat). It was pretty difficult for me to work on Sunday because I needed that extra spirituality. I feel like my soul is a battery, and by the time Sunday rolls around, I really need the spiritual recharge. Temptations are harder to resist, and I feel tired. However, after I go to church and focus on the Savior, I feel spiritually refreshed. I am ready for the rest of the week, come what may.
I am so grateful for the Sabbath. I am grateful for the chance we have to put aside the cares of the world for a day.
I know that the Sabbath Day is important and that we can be renewed if we do our best to choose activities that will bring us closer to our Savior.