Story – Remember the Sabbath Day

The church bell was ringing. Nine o’clock, it tolled. Johnny liked to dress up in his best suit. He was ready to go to church, for today was the Sabbath.

Soon Mother and Daddy, Don, Alice, and Ted were ready to go. So they left home and walked toward the church several blocks away. On the corner Johnny met a friend, Joan.

“We are going to church,” Johnny chirped happily.

“We don’t go to church today; we go tomorrow!” Joan answered saucily.

“Tomorrow is Sunday!” Johnny promptly informed her.

“I know. That’s the day to go to church,” she replied, and skipped down the street.

Johnny was puzzled. “Daddy, why do we go to church today instead of Sunday?” asked Johnny, as they walked along the sidewalk.

“Well, son, the Bible says: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.’ We go to church today because it is the seventh day, the Sabbath. It is one of God’s commandments.”

Johnny found his class at Sabbath School, and sat down quietly. He was happy.

First the leader had the children sing several songs, and then everyone knelt down, and the teacher prayed to God. She asked the heavenly Father to care for the boys and girls and help them to do what is right.

After Sabbath School, the family sat together in their usual place and listened to the sermon. When the service was over, they went home and had their lunch. Then Johnny and his dog Spotty went out in the back garden. The day was warm and lovely and Johnny lay down on the soft grass to watch the fleecy clouds in the blue sky.

While he was lying on the grass, he saw two bluebirds flying back and forth to the apple tree. Each bird carried a straw or string in its beak as it flew to the tree.

Johnny kept quiet and watched, and soon spied the branch where the bluebirds were working. His feathered friends were building a nest. It was such fun to watch!

After a while he saw Mother and Daddy walking in the yard among the flowers. He called softly to them, for he didn’t want to disturb the birds. They came over, and Mother exclaimed, “Isn’t this a lovely Sabbath day!”

“Oh, yes, Mother. I’ve been watching the bluebirds building their nest. Do you want to see them?” He showed them the nest in the apple tree. They watched until the birds flew away.

“Let’s go for a walk, Johnny, and see how many kinds of birds we can find,” suggested Daddy.

In a little while, Mother, Daddy, and Johnny were walking through the field on their way to the creek. They sat down on the rocks near the rippling water and watched for birds. They saw sparrows, blue jays, hawks, blackbirds, robins, and a red-throated hummingbird, its wings whirring as it sipped nectar from the wild flowers.

Daddy suggested that Johnny learn the fourth commandment while they sat there by the creek.

Johnny kept repeating the words after his father until he knew God’s fourth rule. It is a long commandment, so he had to work hard to learn it all.

“How can we remember the Sabbath?”

“First, we can remember the Sabbath by going to church and worshiping God there,” suggested Mother. “Our heavenly Father is pleased when He sees us come into His house, just as we are happy to see a friend come to our house to visit.”

“We remember the holy Sabbath when we go outdoors and look at the beautiful things God created,” Daddy added.

“I know another way,” spoke up Johnny. “We can read the Bible, and learn the commandments, as we’re doing now.”

Johnny sat quietly looking at the rippling water. Then he said thoughtfully: “Is that why you clean the house and cook so many good things on Friday, so you won’t have to work on Sabbath?”

“That’s right,” Mother nodded.

“Daddy never goes to his office on the Sabbath, either.”

“Yes,” Daddy added, “and you know the men who work for me never work on the Sabbath. Some of the men do not believe in God, but everyone who works for me has the Sabbath day for rest anyway. The commandment says: ‘In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.’

“One time,” continued Daddy, “when we lived on the farm, my neighbor wanted to borrow one of my teams of horses and the driver on Sabbath morning. He knew I did not have the men or the horses work on that day, so he thought he would not be bothering me in my work to ask for them on a day when I did not use them. I had to explain to him that God’s rule said the cattle and the workmen were not to work on the Sabbath either. I told him I would let him use them on another day of the week.

“The man could not understand, but he said to me: ‘If that’s what your God says, you’d better obey. I’ll not ask you to disobey Him.’

“Months later this neighbor came to us for help when he and his family were in trouble. He told me he knew he could trust us, for we were so careful to keep God’s commandments. Finally, the man and his family decided to study the Bible with us, and they are now keeping the Sabbath, too.”

“That’s a wonderful story, Daddy!” exclaimed Johnny.

“Well, it’s time for us to start home,” Daddy reminded Mother and Johnny.

The sun had almost set when they reached the front porch of their home. Alice and Ted were back from the afternoon meeting of the young folk, and the family sat down and read from the Bible. Then they knelt in prayer as the sun sank behind the hills.

“It’s been a good Sabbath,” Mother said.

Taken from God’s Ten Rules, Ethyl M. Neff, ©1948, 35–43