In my morning scripture study today, I read a talk by Sister Becky Craven from the April 2019 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
In that talk, titled Casual vs. Careful, Sister Craven relays the anecdote of an incident shared with a friend of hers who is a train engineer.
“We have a dear friend who was a train engineer. One day while he was driving a train on his route, he spotted a car stopped on the track ahead of him. He quickly realized that the car was stuck and unable to cross the track. He immediately put the train in emergency mode, which engaged the brakes on each boxcar that extended three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) behind the engine, carrying a load of 6,500 tons (5,900 metric tons). There was no physical chance that the train would be able to stop before it hit the car, which it did. Fortunately for the people in the car, they heard the warning of the train whistle and escaped from the car before the impact. As the engineer spoke with the investigating police officer, an angry woman approached them. She shouted that she had seen the whole incident and then testified that the engineer did not even try to swerve out of the way to miss the car!”
This made me reflect on how I live the Gospel and the state of the world today. Am I swerving my heavy load to appease the opinions and ways of the world… or am I taking the right approach and protecting the heavy load I carry despite going against the ways and opinions of the world.
I’ll admit, it is quite tough to keep the train on the tracks sometimes. There is constant temptation and pull to forsake my duty to my Heavenly Father to placate worldly opinions. It is impossible to be perfect in our pursuit to return. But like Sister Craven says, if we become less casual and more careful in how we approach our lives according to the Gospel, we can ward off the subtle influences of the Adversary
I always like to give an example from our own lives. As you all know, our family is very active with baseball. Growing up, I actually enjoyed football more than baseball. However, now that I have kids of my own, baseball has taken over as my favorite. Unfortunately, in a lot of the travel leagues that the younger kids play in, many of their games take place on Sunday. In trying our very hardest to stick to our Gospel Principles, we have abstained from playing baseball on Sundays since Levi was in these leagues.
This is a very hard decision for us. We do not want our boys to feel as if they are letting their teams down. However, we have made a family commitment to not forgo our Sunday Sabbath day duties in lieu of worldly matters. I know that this is a decision that is not well understood by others, but it is one we have prayed and feel very strongly about.
Let’s say we give in and become casual with Sabbath day observance. Will we punch our ticket to Hell if we begin playing baseball games on Sundays? I don’t know for sure but I highly doubt it. However, what worries me most if we were to become more casual is where will it stop? WHERE ELSE will we give in if we do not adhere to our standards on this one thing? Where will that lead?
I honestly do not even want to think about that. My faith has become so important to me that I do not want to chance becoming too casual with the standards our family has decided to uphold. The 3rd Article of Faith states ““We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
I make no assumption that I will be able to earn my way into Heaven. I know that I am so imperfect that this is literally impossible. That the only way for me to be in Heaven is because of the sacrifice and love of my Savior Jesus Christ through the Atonement. It is with reverence and respect that I am obedient to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Jesus did something for me (and everyone) that it would be absolutely foolish for me to think I could ever repay him. However, I can do my small part in being obedient to show how much I appreciate this sacrifice.
So it’s not fear of eternal damnation that keeps us from playing baseball on Sundays. It’s out of love and respect for our Savior that we make the Sabbath. It was our beloved Prophet, Russell M Nelson who said “What did the Savior mean when He said that “the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath”?2 I believe He wanted us to understand that the Sabbath was His gift to us, granting real respite from the rigors of daily life and an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal. God gave us this special day, not for amusement or daily labor but for a rest from duty, with physical and spiritual relief.”