We moved to the UK, and my daughters have been training for a dance program for 3 months and we have just learned the program will be on a Sunday. Turns out virtually all sporting games, swim meets, competitions in general are held on Sunday. Do we ask them to train hard only to tell them that they can train but never compete or perform? Or do we just tell them too bad kids you cannot take part in sports or dance? How can we tell them to develop the gift the Lord has blessed them with when due to the area we live in they cannot use them unless they do so after church?
I knew two young boys in the Primary who took their Sabbath worship seriously. They also took baseball seriously. They played on different teams, both of which made it to the championship that year. Unfortunately, the game was scheduled for a Sunday. As much as they loved the sport, both boys independently chose not to play. As the date approached, the league opted to move the game to the following Saturday instead (that did nothing to diminish the trash talk between them).
Like many aspects of the Law of Holiness, the Sabbath sets us apart from the world (sadly, even from much of the believing world). We are fighting a worldly culture when we stand for our principles. Sometimes, as in the case of these two boys, we get to enjoy the best of both, but more often than not, we are forced to prioritize and show our allegiance. The Sabbath is a day set aside for us to worship God and ponder on the great works He has done for us. As we do so, the Sabbath will become a delight for us (Isaiah 58:13-14). Remember that as you consider some of the following:
What is the Sabbath culture in your house? Is it a day of recreation or a time for worship? If your girls are to refrain from recreation outside the house, you might need to recruit them to help you set the right spirit inside your house. The way you live now has set the framework for this discussion.
What value are they getting?
What is the value they get from dancing? Is it something they do for fun or exercise or are they participating for the competitions? I’ve taken some dance courses in the past, and while I did participate in a competition, I would have been just fine without it because that wasn’t my focus.
How old are your girls? Are they mature enough to start making their own decision on this? Are you willing to live with whatever decision they make even if it’s one you disapprove of? For instance, if you have a house rule that sports are beyond the pale on the Sabbath but they choose to compete anyway, they may just have to find their own rides. Or if you really want them to get the experience of competing (and get your money’s worth out of the program) but they stay home instead, be prepared to delight in the Sabbath with them (and maybe look for a similar program without the competitions).
What about the future?
What do you want your daughters to do when they’re faced with a similar decision in 10 or 15 years? What makes the dance competition important enough to participate on the Lord’s day? Does that also apply to studying? What about dates or socials? The choices you all make now lays the foundation for their worship for years to come.
My intent is not to get you thinking legalistically about the Sabbath, but to recognize that this specific issue on your mind is part of a larger landscape. By all means counsel with your daughters on this. I encourage you to remember that ultimately, the Sabbath is the Lord’s day. In my family, when it’s my birthday or Father’s day I get to choose the activities for that day. When it’s the Lord’s day, we should grant Him that same privilege. Pray for guidance and include Him in your counsels. Proper observance of this day will cause you to “ride upon the high places of the earth” because your home will become a high and holy place.