by Becky Watson
I need Sundays.
The scriptures tell us that “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). Our Heavenly Father is infinitely wise and good, and every gift he gives us is for our happiness and well-being.
We recognize that both our bodies and spirits need a day of rest from worldly cares and labors. In our family, that means we usually take a nap, set aside some personal time to plan for the days ahead and reflect on the prior week, and play lots of family games together. We strive to use this day to interview our children individually as well – not only to enjoy their company, but gage how they are faring and help them in their struggles. Sunday is also a great day to visit family and friends, or have neighbors over for treats and games.
One thing unique about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that members are encouraged not to work or patronize locations that require others to work. This has led to many a late Saturday night run for milk or gas!
But while I have long loved the Sabbath day and looked forward to its rejuvenating effects, it wasn’t until recently that honoring the Sabbath day became a test of faith.
We have lately moved, and therefore have spent the last few months partaking in the delightful process of selling our previous home. It felt like every waking moment was spent either packing or repairing or cleaning. It’s pretty much the worst. (Did I mention I hate moving?!)
Finally our home was ready; we took a big breath and hammered the “for sale” sign into our front lawn.
And the waiting began.
We were in a hurry to sell it; there is a tight selling window in Arizona and we were terrified that if we didn’t sell within two months TOPS, we’d be stuck waiting another year. Every realtor call was a hopeful possibility and we bent over backwards to accommodate every one. We’d get a call, madly rush around getting everything in white-glove condition, and scurry out of the house like the crazy human cyclone that we were.
(Oh – in addition to my own six children, my brother and his wife and four kids were staying with us while he looked for a job. Plus my mother who lives with us. Plus my sister home from college. I’ll do the math for you. That’s six adults and ten children we had to clean up after and usher out, often with less than an hour’s notice. I earned several gray patches in the past couple months.)
Sunday suddenly became one less day we had for showing the house – and a prime-time showing day at that. It wasn’t a question really; we put it on the MLS sheet with a slight pang, but no second thoughts.
Until I got a phone call one Sunday morning.
“Hello there! I know the listing says no Sunday showings, but I’m wondering if you’d make an exception. I have clients here from out of town and they’re in a hurry to buy. Would we be able to come this afternoon?”
I admit it – I hesitated.
But then I thought of my children, of how often I had testified to them that the Sabbath was a day of worship, a day of honoring our Lord. I didn’t make allowances for sports games or birthday parties – why would I change my mind for a showing?
With a deep breath I told the realtor no – we could do early Monday, but would not show on the Sabbath.
The realtor was completely flabbergasted. She argued with me that this was a wasted opportunity. They buyers had “cash on hand,” they “loved our house,” and were ready to put in an offer today. They were in fact flying out early Monday morning and HAD to see the house right then. Today. Sunday.
We wanted to sell the house so badly. But we wanted to honor the Sabbath more.
As I apologized once again and hung up the phone, I experienced a totally unexpected swell of warmth and peace. My head was downcast and regretful; my heart was calm and joyful. I knew I had done the right thing. I had borne my testimony that Sundays were special days in our family, and that didn’t change because we were trying to sell our house.
Sure enough, we got an offer merely a week later, and closed quickly and easily a short time after that.
President Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, suggests that as we examine our Sabbath activities, rather than make a list of dos and don’ts, we can merely ask ourselves, ‘what sign am I giving God?” (“The Sabbath is a Delight.” Ensign. May 2015.) And he directs us to this divine decree:
That thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High … that thy joy may be full. … And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, … the fulness of the earth is yours.” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–10, 13, 15–16.)
Our refusing to show our house on Sunday was our sign to God how much we love him, and our joy truly was made full as a result.
Now, more than ever, I have come to realize how delightful the Sabbath can be.