Word of the Week


It seems in our work-a-holic culture talking about taking time off or leaving the office at a reasonable hour or using all of your vacation is taboo. And, such ideas, I believe extend into the church. Pastors, especially are praised for being at every last event and meeting, working overtime and not taking their vacation time. It is as if more work= assurance of worth. And, I seem to be having conversations all the time lately with my pastor friends about how taking time off is rarely modeled to them by mentors and supervisors in postive ways.

As I grow into my professional role, I am hoping that there is another way for us to be. We need Sabbath. And, it may or may not come on Sunday. (This is why pastors take off another day of the week).sabbath_day_banner

I need to take my days off (which I've decided to change to Thursdays). I need my vacation. And, I need to allow God's rest to come to me in regular periods. It is not being lazy. It is not neglecting God's church. It is part of who God made me to be that I just can't ignore.

I like to work though, so Sabbath is not always the easiest practice for me to live into. While I always have chunks of time off here and there in every week, there is a difference between a day off and an hour or two off mixed in with work. It just isn't the same if you don't get a full day.

In my new role of being the only pastor around, there are always needs. I'm never "off" call. There are always phone calls to return and emails to write. It is really easy for work to invade your family time if you allow it too.

But, this week, I took a day off. It was the first time that I felt like I'd taken a real day of rest since I got snowed in on a Monday back in March. Actually, I took more like 40 straight hours off and it was wonderful. I forgot what the breathing space of time off really felt like. I forgot how nice it is was to not to feel like there was something I had to do except enjoy the day at the day's own rhythms. I ate good meals. I shared good conversation with some dear friends. I took a long hike in the woods without cell phone reception.

And, I returned to work happy to get back at everything on my plate. You don't feel as productive being gone, but in the end, it has all been well. While it is annoying that often we have to work harder to be able to rest and then work harder as a result of taking rest, I think we have to continually remind ourselves to practice Sabbath anyway. It is one great reminder that we aren't in charge of the universe afterall. The world will go on without us.

God's deep rest is what feeds our tired souls. Turn off the cell phone. Unplug the computer and the tv and experience Sabbath sometime soon. I know you will be glad you did.