This was asked in the ‘Ask an Apologist forum’ see link above. The substance of the question was:
He has a vegatable garden on my land which he gardens on Saturday and Sunday. He also mows our lawn. Is this a sin against the Third commandment?
The answer was in substance that the activity could be recreational for the person and not a sin, but that the heavier work should be done on Saturday.
Unless there is something I do not know about, this answer is flawed, as it goes against the restriction that ‘servile work’ not be done on Sunday. What is servile work? It is work that a common laborer would do. And this would include gardening or farming.
Of course there are always excuses made for necessities and so forth – that is not the question here, there is no necessity or emergency.
The reason given that it is allowed was ‘can be recreational for some’ but this is a flawed reasoning, as it is ‘servile work’ and servile work is not determined by the motivations of the person doing the work, but the work itself.
‘Mowing a lawn’ is the clearest part of this that is manual labor, or servile work. One does not mow one’s lawn or anyone else’s on a Sunday. Neither does one garden, one may keep a garden for pleasure but it is basically servile labor to care for it however pleasant.
Now I can think of reasons one would want an elderly person to have a routine of exercise for health or whatnot, and the difficulties changing a person’s habits – that is that – this is something different. We shouldn’t presume difficulties that are not necessarily there or cannot in fact be overcome by simple changes.
All things being equal, given the information given – the person should not be doing what he is doing on a Sunday, mowing and gardening, as it is the Lord’s day, a day of rest and devoted for contemplation of the Lord and peaceful actions, not servile labor or profane focus.
Honestly I wanted to discuss this more later and talk about all the good benefits of observing Sunday, but the question came up before I had all my papers and sources at hand which is the main reason why I put a qualifier ‘unless there is something I do not know about’ in there.