Sabbath and family?
Preparation Day parallels to preparing for the Lordís return:
How should we spend the time?
SPIRIT OF PROPHECY
Page 250 - 251
The Sabbath and the family were alike instituted in Eden, and in God's purpose they are indissolubly linked together. On this day more than on any other, it is possible for us to live the life of Eden. It was God's plan for the members of the family to be associated in work and study, in worship and recreation, the father as priest of his household, and both father and mother as teachers and companions of their children. But the results of sin, having changed the conditions of life, to a great degree prevent this association. Often the father hardly sees the faces of his children throughout the week. He is almost wholly deprived of opportunity for companionship or instruction. But God's love has set a limit to the demands of toil. Over the Sabbath He places His merciful hand. In His own day He preserves for the family opportunity for communion with Him, with nature, and with one another.
Since the Sabbath is the memorial of creative power, it is the day above all others when we should acquaint ourselves with God through His works. In the minds of the children the very thought of the Sabbath should be bound up with the beauty of natural things. Happy is the family who can go to the place of worship on the Sabbath as Jesus and His disciples went to the synagogue--across the fields, along the shores of the lake, or through the groves. Happy the father and mother who can teach their children God's written word with illustrations from the open pages of the book of nature; who can gather under the green trees, in the fresh, pure air, to study the word and to sing the praise of the Father above.
By such associations parents may bind their children to their hearts, and thus to God, by ties that can never be broken.
As a means of intellectual training, the opportunities of the Sabbath
are invaluable. Let the Sabbath-school lesson be learned, not by a hasty
glance at the lesson scripture on Sabbath morning, but by careful study
for the next week on Sabbath afternoon, with daily review or illustration
during the week. Thus the lesson will become fixed in the memory, a treasure
never to be wholly lost.
Testimonies To The Church
On Friday let the preparation for the Sabbath be completed. See that all the clothing is in readiness and that all the cooking is done. Let the boots be blacked and the baths be taken. It is possible to do this. If you make it a rule you can do it. The Sabbath is not to be given to the repairing of garments, to the cooking of food, to pleasure seeking, or to any other worldly employment. Before the setting of the sun let all secular work be laid aside and all secular papers be put out of sight. Parents, explain your work and its purpose to your children, and let them share in your preparation to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment.
We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time. Whenever it is possible, employers should give their workers the hours from Friday noon until the beginning of the Sabbath. Give them time for preparation, that they may welcome the Lord's day with quietness of mind. By such a course you will suffer no loss even in temporal things.
There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. In a humble spirit, "confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." James 5:16.
Before the Sabbath begins, the mind as well as the body should be withdrawn from worldly business. God has set His Sabbath at the end of the six working days, that men may stop and consider what they have gained during the week in preparation for the pure kingdom which admits no transgressor. We should each Sabbath reckon with our souls to see whether the week that has ended has brought spiritual gain or loss.
It means eternal salvation to keep the Sabbath holy unto the Lord. God says: "Them that honor Me I will honor." 1 Samuel 2:30.
Testimonies To The Church
I saw that we should not put off the coming of the Lord. Said the angel:
"Prepare, prepare, for what is coming upon the earth. Let your works correspond
with your faith." I saw that the mind must be stayed upon God, and that
our influence should tell for God and His truth. We cannot honor the Lord
when we are careless and indifferent. We cannot glorify Him when we are
desponding. We must be in earnest to secure our own soul's salvation, and
to save others. All importance should be attached to this, and everything
besides should come in secondary.
When the Sabbath commences, we should place a guard upon ourselves,
upon our acts and our words, lest we rob God by appropriating to our own
use that time which is strictly the Lord's. We should not do ourselves,
nor suffer our children to do, any manner of our own work for a livelihood
or anything which could have been done on the six working days. Friday
is the day of preparation. Time can then be devoted to making the necessary
preparation for the Sabbath and to thinking and conversing about it. Nothing
which will in the sight of Heaven be regarded as a violation of the holy
Sabbath should be left unsaid or undone, to be said or done upon the Sabbath.
God requires not only that we refrain from physical labor upon the Sabbath,
but that the mind be disciplined to dwell upon sacred themes. The Fourth
Commandment is virtually transgressed by conversing upon worldly things
or by engaging in light and trifling conversation. Talking upon anything
or everything which may come into the mind is speaking our own words. Every
deviation from right brings us into bondage and condemnation.
Parents can and should give attention to their children, reading to them the most attractive portions of Bible history, educating them to reverence the Sabbath day, keeping it according to the commandment. This cannot be done if the parents feel no burden to interest their children. But they can make the Sabbath a delight if they will take the proper course. The children can be interested in good reading or in conversation about the salvation of their souls. But they will have to be educated and trained. The natural heart does not love to think of God, of heaven, or of heavenly things. There must be a continual pressing back of the current of worldliness and inclination to evil and a letting in of heavenly light.
I have found that on the Sabbath day many are indifferent and do not know where their children are or what they are doing.
Parents, above everything take care of your children upon the Sabbath. Do not suffer them to violate God's holy day by playing in the house or out-of-doors. You may just as well break the Sabbath yourselves as to let your children do it, and when you suffer your children to wander about and suffer them to play upon the Sabbath, God looks upon you as Sabbathbreakers.
Out-of-doors With the Children.--The parents may take their children outdoors to view God in nature. They can be pointed to the blooming flowers and the opening buds, the lofty trees and beautiful spires of grass, and taught that God made all these in six days and rested on the seventh day and hallowed it. Thus the parents may bind up their lessons of instruction to their children, so that when these children look upon the things of nature, they will call to mind the great Creator of them all. Their thoughts will be carried up to nature's God-- back to the creation of our world, when the foundation of the Sabbath was laid, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Such are the lessons to be impressed on the minds of our children.
We are not to teach our children that they must not be happy on the
Sabbath, that it is wrong to walk out-of-doors. Oh, no. Christ led His
disciples out by the lakeside on the Sabbath day and taught them. His sermons
on the Sabbath were not always preached within enclosed walls.
Give True Concept of God's Character.--How can children receive a more correct knowledge of God, and their minds be better impressed, than in spending a portion of their time out-of-doors, not in play, but in company with their parents? Let their young minds be associated with God in the beautiful scenery of nature; let their attention be called to the tokens of His love to man in His created works, and they will be attracted and interested. They will not be in danger of associating the character of God with everything that is stern and severe; but as they view the beautiful things which He has created for the happiness of man, they will be led to regard Him as a tender, loving Father. They will see that His prohibitions and injunctions are not made merely to show His power and authority, but that He has the happiness of His children in view. As the character of God puts on the aspect of love, benevolence, beauty, and attraction, they are drawn to love Him. You can direct their minds to the lovely birds making the air musical with their happy songs, to the spires of grass and the gloriously tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air. All these proclaim the love and skill of the heavenly Artist and show forth the glory of God.
Parents, why not make use of the precious lessons which God has given
us in the book of nature, to give our children a correct idea of His character?
Those who sacrifice simplicity to fashion and shut themselves away from
the beauties of nature cannot be spiritually minded. They cannot understand
the skill and power of God as revealed in His created works; therefore
their hearts do not quicken and throb with new love and interest, and they
are not filled with awe and reverence as they see God in nature.
The Sabbath and the family were alike instituted in Eden,
and in God's
purpose they are indissolubly linked together. On this day more than on
any other, it is possible for us to live the life of Eden. It was God's
plan for the members of the family to be associated in work and study,
in worship and recreation, the father as priest of his household, and both
father and mother as teachers and companions of their children. But the
results of sin, having changed the conditions of life, to a great degree
prevent this association. Often the father hardly sees the faces of his
children throughout the week. He is almost wholly deprived of opportunity
for companionship or instruction. But God's love has set a limit to the
demands of toil. Over the Sabbath He places His merciful hand. In His own
day He preserves for the family opportunity for communion with Him, with
nature, and with one another.
The Sabbath should be made so interesting to our families that its weekly
return will be hailed with joy. In no better way can parents exalt and
honor the Sabbath than by devising means to impart proper instruction to
their families and interesting them in spiritual things, giving them correct
views of the character of God and what He requires of us in order to perfect
Christian characters and attain to eternal life. Parents, make the Sabbath
a delight, that your children may look forward to it and have a welcome
in their hearts for it.
Thus parents can make the Sabbath, as it should be, the most joyful
day of the week. They can lead their children to regard it as a delight,
the day of days, the holy of the Lord, honorable.
By such associations parents may bind their children to their hearts,
and thus to God, by ties that can never be broken.
Submitted by Colin Hammond