I thought of Sabbath keeping during Saturday conference, when Brother Monson asked the Saints to get and stay out of debt. He quoted J. Reuben Clark, Jr.:
Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours. . . . Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.
Brother Clark is right. Most loans are compounded daily, including Sundays. Does he have to be right? Why not, when we loan money to each other, give interest a rest on Sundays? The rate the other days could be raised to compensate, meaning that at no economic cost whatsoever, the Lord could be acknowledged and given his due.
We have Christian brothers who take the Sabbath seriously. Witness the founders of Chick-Fil-A. Have they done anything with this?
I’m assuming that such a move would be costless, but is that true? Would there be legal consequences to compounding interest only six days in every seven?
If others will answer these questions, I can answer another: is there any point to giving interest a rest on the Sabbath if it makes no difference economically?
Yes. You and I are trying to be Celestial beings devoted to God. Symbolic, otherwise ‘meaningless’ acts, are the kindling for that transformation.
If you doubt it, consider Brother Robbins’ talk. I thought it was remarkable in many ways. For one, his dictum that “mercy cannot rob sacrifice any more than it can rob justice” ties in profound ways, I think, with the twin roles of the atonement in relieving sin and suffering. But relevant to our purposes is a later portion of his talk:
One of the first things a bishop must do to help the needy is ask them to pay their tithing. Like the widow, if a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing. The bishop can help them with their food and other basic needs until they become self-reliant.
It struck you, as it no doubt strikes me, that for the family to pay tithing under these circumstances is essentially a ‘meaningless’ act. They give their food money to the church and the church gives them food money back. Yet I say, as Brother Robbins says, that this family must pay their tithing. Every act, be it the receiving of increase or the receiving of interest, must be tied to the Lord. Against none is his wrath kindled save those who acknowledge not his hand in all things.