searching for my sabbath

Thursday is my off day. Well, I say off day because its the one day I desperately try to keep uncluttered. Basically I opt out of everything that is non-essential and lay around the house all day.

Well, thats the idea. And if a particularly enquisitive person asks me why I can't make that regularly scheduled activity, I throw God into the picture. Who can argue when I say, "Its my Sabbath"?

As you could guess, this causes some problems for me...

First, I don't know if I'm being honest when I say its my sabbath. I know the sabbath is a day of rest, and I know God commands us (doesn't recommend gently, but commands) to observe it. But truthfully, how much is God in my sabbath? Am I resting? Or avoiding work? I don't think the divine command has anything to do with accepting the 9 to 5 mentality that so many other jobs can maintain. Being a pastor is not one of those jobs...

Second, I fudge it all the time. Hence the fact I went into the office this morning. Hence the fact I have a small group this evening at 6:30. Hence the fact that I'll answer calls, check emails, and sometimes work on my sermon on Thursday. And I don't know if its fudging, but I'll clean up the house, run errands, or even... *gasp* wash clothes on Thursday. Its like a divine laundry day.

Third, as much as I love people, Thursday has become a haven for me and I seem to avoid people at all costs. Why is this a problem? Because if there is a serious pressing matter that someone brings to my attention, I have a tendency to hold it against them. I know I know, this is bad...and un-Christian of me.**No joke, I just had a thought that "Oh my, someone will read this and not want to bother me on Thursday, and I sure hope they know they can." And if you do call me, I'll probably hold it against you. **I just had another thought that I'm going to get in trouble with someone for not being a quivering mass of availability.** Seriously...call me if you need me. No, I mean it.

You see? I need a sabbath. I'm looking forward to the day that my significant other and I can lounge around together and that will be more "godly" as it is impossible to be in her presence and not have to reflect on the greatness, challenge, and love of the all-mighty creator. I also look forward to the day when my sabbath will be exactly what God wants it to be...a day set aside for rest in his presence.

I hope you have more success than I am having. Apparently I'm still searching for my sabbath. Maybe I could read my bible a little more? Praying some sounds like a good idea...

but truthfully (I feel like I'm saying that a lot lately) that all feels like work almost. Forgive me Jesus! I hope when you want to spend time with me on Thursday I won't turn you down.

Seriously, call me if you need me. Or don't, I'll get back to you tomorrow.

Comments

  1. I think you have arrived at the meaning of Sabbath. A time away from the world that you can "rest" from the demands of the world and create space. Sometimes that space will be filled by the obvious presence of God, sometimes He will recognize that you need to fill it with a load of towels. No pressure.

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  2. Sabbath has been one of those growing edges for me for a while now. Maybe it is a “working” in the church thing. I feel a pressure that if you observe a Sabbath you are weak or undedicated. Yet, over the last year or two I have learned the most important part of Sabbath for me is for it to be a time for me to remember that God is God and I am not. And you know sometimes there is nothing better than a big pile of laundry or dirty dishes to remind me how human I am. Then there are those days that I actually stay away from email or the phone and learn that the world goes on without me having to solve one problem or take one action or pretend like I am the Savior of anything. That’s a good reminder. And yeah… those unexpected phone calls. I hold grudges too, but I just let that be proof that God’s still got some work to do on my heart. I also have great idealistic dream of what my Sabbaths should be. But I found some hope when I discovered that God may be teaching me a lot when I simply try the Sabbath thing. (I hope so.) So, good luck with your Sabbath search. And hey you want to do lunch one Thursday? (Kidding)

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  3. John 5 includes the story of Jesus healing a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. This occurred on the Sabbath. At Jesus' command, the man picked up his mat and walked. After 38 years!

    So the man was healed, and almost immediately admonished for working on the Sabbath by carrying his mat. He said he was told to carry it by the One who healed him. This caused no small problem for Jesus, right? Here's how John 5:17 reads in The Message version:

    But Jesus defended himself. "My Father is working straight through, even on the Sabbath. So am I."

    So, as Jack says, sometimes you fudge. And as Danette pointed out, you have to tell yourself I am not God.

    I say...if you have dirty laundry on your Sabbath, wash it. You can pray or sing a hymn or worship God's creation while you do it. And if you get a chance to have a hand in some kind of healing on your Sabbath, grab it!

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  4. It seems so legalistic to have a day where you must not do anything lest you break the Sabbath. Look what Jesus did on it. He healed people, commanded them to carry their mat no less. It seems to me that Sabbath is like salvation...it's a state of being with God in the midst of every day of your life. Not just your one day off, or so. Some people don't have the luxuary of not working a day. They must hunt and gather or protect their families. Are they lesser than you and I?

    Let the Sabbath live in our hearts every day.

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  5. I have found it so hard to take my own Sabbath here as the only Pastor. I think it is because I have not claimed it for what it is, and deemed it important to me. But I have found that it is so important, to be able to get back in to do ministry; but it is also important to God that time we share intimately and to me in my relationship with God. Well Jack you certainly have challenged me.

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