Are you a regular reader of this blog? I have some news for you about the short-term future!
This will be the last entry to our blog for the next several weeks. I am going on a sabbatical and will not be making entries for a while.
I felt this was the perfect opportunity to explore idea of rest and sabbath. Sabbath is an older word that goes back to the book in the Bible called Genesis where God’s work of creation is outlined. God worked for six days and on the seventh day He rested, He declared it a Sabbath or day of rest.
God paused on the seventh day to rest. Not because He needed to rest, to set an example for us. He knew we would need to rest.
He made rest apart of his 10 Commandments. He even instructed the Jewish people to let their farms rest on the 7th year. Rest is something we are commanded to do throughout the Bible.
Most of us don’t think of our hurried lives as sinful ones. Busyness is actually prized. When talking to friends we nearly brag about our HUGE workloads, overscheduled kids, and disconnected marriages.
Rhythms of rest in our lives are essential to being ones who serve God and others. It is also a key piece of being able to respond to people with love.
Tired people are not patient, kind, self-controlled, joyful, and so on. They are short, rude, in a hurry, and overwhelmed. We don’t need MORE of this.
(I don't know about you, but I am pretty sure she <----- is about to ask for the manager!)
God is quite serious about rest. He wants you to rest at least one day in seven. Ignoring this doesn’t hurt God, it hurts You.
If you have ever fought chronic exhaustion, sleep deprivation, or over stressed circumstances you know they lead no where good.
Checked out or angry your emotions get unbalanced. Your mental health is wobbling and physically you are prone to hyper tension (high blood pressure), headaches and impaired judgement.
God’s prescription for avoiding all of this is beautiful and wonderfully simple. Take a day off every week.
No this doesn’t mean trading work at your job for work at home. It also doesn’t mean doing the work of simply chauffeuring your kids all over. It is an actual, intentional, family choosing to rest day.
Do the things you enjoy, nap, eat the foods you like, wear comfortable clothes, laugh, go on a hike or to a movie, step out of your day to day routine.
I promise you will like it! Cue the yeah but, I can't, it isn't that easy..
Hard truth moment….the world will go on without you!
It is ok, God is in charge. If you trust Him with your life, with your salvation, with your eternity then you can trust Him to take care of things when you do what He said and rest.
A sabbatical is an extended Sabbath. Sabbatical sound strange to most, traditionally it was reserved for university professors and some Pastors but it has become more and more common. Many for profit workplaces have implemented a form of Sabbatical including a few financial firms! Giving employees a month or five weeks off after 5 years of full-time work.
They are nothing new. Many Canadians and Europeans are shocked at how little time Americans take off. The European version is often called “holiday”. They take 3-6 weeks off at a time to travel, rest, and recharge. Some get this much time off EVERY YEAR.
Recent studies at for profit companies have found sabbaticals have a profound impact. Employees come back with 1) Renewed energy and creativity 2) Increased productivity 3) Improved mental health and 4) Increased work life balance.
Sabbaticals are not emergency measures because someone has broken-down or burned out. They are preventative measures to keep people balanced, engaged, and living a satisfying life.
I fully understand not everyone is able to take a sabbatical and I wish that was not the case. I believe God has much to tell us but we often can’t slow down enough to hear what He is saying.
I am deeply grateful to our elder team who implemented this policy for our church and to you for allowing me the opportunity to slow down and listen.
I don’t know all that might happen as I prepare to shift gears but I believe God will use this time.
I plan to read, pray, rest, and do some fun things along the way.
It so happens it is coming at the perfect time. This year I celebrated 20 years at Mt Ridge. Donna and I will see our 30th anniversary. My daughter Marisa is buying a house. My daughter Lauryn is graduating from college. So many important things compressed into a few months!
What a gift God is giving me to be able to not only slow down and listen but to enjoy and engage all these important moments.
I am planning to come back in July energized, more deeply connected to Jesus and excited to serve you as pastor.
In the meantime I am praying you will make the time to rest and recharge as well.
PS No I haven't left yet, I start the sabbatical Sunday June 4th.
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