I think the Lord is trying to teach me something.
I serve in a church each Sunday. Though I barely think of it as work, it does require intentional thinking, planning, and execution. It’s part of what I do on a regular basis. So it’s difficult to set things aside on Sundays as a Sabbath.
Since I also lead another ministry, most weekends are heavy in ministry and leadership. Again, totally fun and rewarding, but those commitments make it more difficult to pull off a true Sabbath on those days.
Over these years in ministry, I’ve learned that having a regular, set aside Sabbath day may not be possible for the long term, but setting aside one day out of every seven is not only a freeing gift from God; it’s the longest and most detailed of the Ten Commandments.
Our church is going through leadership training for this coming year. During the kickoff session, the presenter mentioned something about having lost the rhythm for the Sabbath for much of his recent and dynamic ministry. Something resonated with me in his confession and testimony of getting back on track.
Soon after, when I stopped by our local library for other stuff, I picked up a book by Robert Morris called Take The Day Off. He’s the pastor at Gateway Church in Texas. Though it’s a book for every believer, those in ministry would be especially impacted.
THE SABBATH IS A GIFT
We weren’t made for the Sabbath – it was created for us. It’s a framework that allows us to live bright and full lives. Being instructed to take time off in a regular rhythm is a gift from God. I have often said things like, “It would be much easier if God would speak and tell me what to do next,” God does lead us, and this is one of those clear ways. He’s given us a gift of rhythm, the weekly Sabbath, for our own good.
THE OTHER SIX DAYS WILL BE MORE EFFECTIVE
When we take a true Sabbath day each week, our mindset begins to change. We realize the world was never really counting on us that much. Things don’t fall apart and life still happens. Amazingly, our minds become more productive as we gain that perspective and rest. When we take a day to rest, the six days we work are more powerful than seven days of work without rest. As the saying goes, “If given six hours to chop down the tree, take four to sharpen the saw.”
A SABBATH SLAPS IN THE FACE OF CULTURE
I don’t know how many Sundays I have thought it would be neat to go to Chick-Fil-A only to realize it’s closed. I’m sure their stance on honoring the Sabbath has caused people to take note. The company has grown immensely, blocking traffic in major intersections and parking lots in 47 states. Yet they close on Sundays. It’s a slap in the face to the culture that says, “Work more, make more, do more.” God’s way is a rhythm of hard work and rest, in balance.
The fact that Chick-fil-A shuts down on Sundays and is still wildly successful in our culture doesn’t compute for most people with a worldly perspective.#sabbath https://amzn.to/3KkBB5X
BUSYNESS IS HONORED IN OUR CULTURE
Talk to any adult long enough and the conversation will turn to busyness. It’s become common to answer the question, “How are you doing?” with “Busy!” In many ways, we honor it, brag about it, and don’t realize how out of control it really is. Some people are so numb by their schedules, they don’t have time to consider the alternative, God’s commandment for rest. It’s hard to take a break when the culture doesn’t seem to reward it. But we are called to be different.
GOD IS SERIOUS ABOUT REST
God rested and saw fit to include the commandment to rest into the small list of Ten Commandments. That commandment is explained more than any other. We have to take him at his word and trust that seeking Sabbath rest should be actively scheduled into our weekly calendar. Our lives depend on it.
QUOTES FROM THE BOOK
Here are a few quotes from Robert Morris:
- Entering the lifestyle of rest is a step of faith.
- God is serious about rest.
- There’s no negative social stigma associated with being addicted to “busy.”
- By giving both your body and your soul rest, you become more effective and efficient at everything you do the other six days each week.
- More time is not the answer. Better stewardship of time is the answer.
- There is simply no way to recharge your physical tank without rest.
- You weren’t made for the Sabbath. It was made for you.
- Legalism loves the system. God loves people.
- If we honor the principle of the Sabbath, we will find miraculous help on the other six days, and even a double portion of help on the sixth.
- God designed us to be creative in the Sabbath as part of restoring creativity in our minds and hearts.
- Nothing is more resting than communion with God.
- If it isn’t scheduled, it isn’t a real goal.
- The Sabbath is a key sign to a watching world.