Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Sabbath

I was in my second year at Ricks College, enrolled in a Physical Science class. I was taking the class to meet a general education requirement but my professor was hard! His name was Fabrizio Pinto from Italy. He spoke with a thick Italian accent which forced me to lean in and listen a little closer. Sometimes he tried to make jokes: "My name is Fabrizio Pinto. Pinto like the car, the bean and the horse." Once I'd processed what he said, it was too late to laugh. I think he understood that because once he said, "I try to tell jokes, but it makes laugh nobody."

I managed to get an A in the class simply because Professor Pinto, mercifully, graded on the curve. Despite my struggle in the class, Dr. Pinto made me feel really smart. He even called me into his office one day and told me he'd be happy to give me a great recommendation if I'd like to be a TA for Physical Science students when I transferred to BYU. I respectfully declined, but I'll admit I was flattered that he even thought I was capable of helping anyone with science!

The fact that Physical Science was one of my hardest classes isn't the point of this post. When I think back on that class, what I remember most is that it was from Professor Pinto that I first realized the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy.

Stay with me here...

One day near the beginning of the semester - it could have even been the first day of class - Dr. Pinto announced that homework would never be due on Monday. Why? Because he never wanted to be the reason we did homework on Sunday. 

Wait. No homework on Sunday? I was a good kid and always attended my church meetings. I didn't participate in sporting activities or go shopping on the Sabbath. But no homework? I'd never really considered the idea. But after hearing Dr. Pinto suggest it, I thought about it a lot. Finally I decided that if he felt so strongly about it, maybe I shouldn't do any homework on Sunday. So I didn't. And do you want to know what happened?

I never needed to.

Through this act of faith, I was blessed with more time during the week. I mean, I know I didn't actually have more time, but it felt like it because I was able to use the time that I had more effectively. I was able to easily get everything done that I needed to in the time I had. Assignments didn't take as long as expected. Studying for tests was more productive. And I was able to enjoy the Sabbath without turning it into a mad cramming session to be ready for Monday. The Sabbath became a delight (see Isaiah 58:13).

I have reflected on that experience many, many times over the past 26 years. I am so grateful for Dr. Pinto and his subtle lesson on keeping the Sabbath day holy. It has had a huge impact on my life.