I wrote it all out before hand, but when it came time to actually speak, I didn't share this exactly.
I am much more comfortable in a teaching position than speaking, because then I can ask questions and be strengthened by others' testimonies.
I felt that I really needed to get my own personal testimony on this subject to be able to speak on it.
And I wasn't sure I had much of a testimony of keeping the Sabbath day holy.
I mean, I follow all the "rules" and I try and do what God wants me to do; but I try and do that every day, so I'm not sure how that makes Sunday different.
I was praying a lot for help to come up with what I should speak about.
I had a couple of scriptures that I found that were helpful and I thought I should share.
And then on Friday, when I was still struggling to focus my thoughts on this topic, I went to the temple.
There was a man in a wheelchair who couldn't speak clearly.
The woman next to me and I shared experiences of other times that people with disabilities had strengthened our faith.
And that was when I knew how honoring the Sabbath day had blessed me.
So, after that long introduction...here's the talk:
I am thankful for this opportunity to speak tonight. I would like to share my own personal testimony of how honoring the Sabbath day has strengthened my faith in Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
I first want to talk about what strengthening my faith in Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ and His Atonement means to me.
It took me a while to figure out what that means or how to do that. I feel that I have always believed. I just didn’t know how to make that belief or faith stronger. I couldn’t figure out how I could “believe” any more than what I did. How do I strengthen that?
In Matthew 6:27 it says, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature”. This was what I was trying to do with my faith. If I just “believe harder” or take more thought it would be “added to”. Reading in the same chapter, but vs. 33 it says, “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added…” I realized that my faith is strengthened by obedience.
I may not have known how to believe more, but I could be more obedient. In fact, I even began to substitute the word obedience for the word faith in certain scriptures to help me understand faith better.
Alma 32:21 And now as I said concerning [obedience] —[obedience] is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have [obedience] ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
Ether 12:6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that [obedience] is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your [obedience].
I am obedient because I have hope in the blessings even if I don’t see them right away.
But obedience is not just following rules.
One of the commandments the Lord asks us to be obedient to is found in Ex. 20:8 , “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
But, if I am just going to church because it’s a rule I’m following, or if I am focusing on the activities I choose to do or not do on the Sabbath, then I am missing an important piece of obedience; of faith.
In Eph. 2:8-9 it says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
And in D&C 46:8 it says that we should “seek earnestly the best gifts”.
This tells me that being obedient (strengthening my faith) requires asking of God for this gift. We seek the gift of faith and strengthen it, by learning God’s will.
In Mosiah 2:22 it reads, “And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.”
So, how do we be obedient and honor the Sabbath day?
In Prov. 15:33 it says, “the fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.”
It’s not just following a rule that strengthens me. It is being humble and learning from the Lord.
Elder Bednar in this last conference said, “The Sabbath is God’s time, a sacred time specifically set apart for worshipping Him and for receiving and remembering His great and precious promises.”
My faith in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and His Atonement has been strengthened as I have honored the Sabbath day, by attending my church meetings; specifically sacrament meeting and all that I have learned and experienced by doing so.
I can say as Nephi said, “Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.” 2 Ne. 4:16
Allow me for a minute to share some of the “great and precious promises” I remember and have received as I have attended my meetings.
Bro. McCurdy was the man who always passed out the programs as we came into sacrament meeting, when I was a young. I remember when he passed the sacrament for the first time in 1978 after receiving the priesthood. I was barely old enough to understand the importance of blacks receiving the priesthood. But I have never forgotten the outpouring of the Spirit that I felt that day.
I remember the time when a young man with severe speech difficulties blessed the sacrament in one of my wards. And the knowledge that came to me of how Christ’s Atonement works in my life to make up for my weaknesses.
I remember being in the hospital one Sunday and having a couple come knock on my door and ask if I’d like to have the sacrament. And seeing this older gentleman kneel on my hospital floor and bless the sacrament just for me. Heavenly Father is aware of me and Jesus Christ would have died even if it was just for me.
I am humbled as I remember the many times I have sung in a ward choir and felt angels joining in.
I delight in the chatter of the women before Relief Society starts because of the love and friendship that is happening.
My heart is full when I seeing many who come to church even when they don’t feel they fit in or haven’t been for a while. Knowing they are there seeking God’s will blesses me.
I am blessed by the answers that I have received directly or indirectly from the speakers, teachers or music on Sunday.
And I am blessed by the revelation that has come to me unexpectedly while sitting on a bench listening to prelude music.
“…my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord” (including the Lord’s day).
All these experiences and many more, have strengthened my faith in my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and in His Atonement. I have been “blessed and prospered” from keeping God’s commandment to honor the Sabbath day, by attending my church meetings and by taking the sacrament.
I testify that God lives and knows us individually. And He loves us. I know that the Lord sends the blessings you need as you keep His commandments. The Sabbath day is the Lords’ day and it is a time set aside for us to ponder on the love He has shown and continues to show us. And I believe He wants to bless us and strengthen us even more as we make the choice to honor His day.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.