– My job doesn’t allow time.
– I don’t know anyone who really takes a full day Sabbath every week.
– I wouldn’t know what to do with a whole day of nothing.
– I simply have too much to accomplish. Resting one entire day would be a waist!
Have you said any of these before? Be honest. I have. In fact, I’ve said all of them.
God set the example for us. He rested after 6 days of work, not because He was tired….but because He knew we would need real rest. He was simply modeling the importance of a Sabbath rest for us. And it wasn’t simply a loving, well-meaning suggestion. It’s included in the 10 Commandments! This is important, people. Especially for those of us in church leadership.
We must take what God modeled for us, and model the same to those we lead! It should be a large focal point of how we approach making disciples. Disciples are learners……followers. Therefore, they need to have something worth following.
So, what does this ‘day of rest’ look like for us today? Let me offer some suggestions of things I’ve put into practice.
Set your day – Schedule it…plan ahead for success. Mine works best on Mondays, so I get things done on Sunday. The things I don’t finish I add to my ‘to do’ list for Tuesday. The only way to make your Sabbath Day a success is to make it Holy. We need to treat it like gold! Otherwise, it becomes just another day.
Communicate – Talk openly about it. Let your spouse, kids, co-workers, and friends know what your Sabbath Day is. This is an important piece of training. Over time, most people will learn to respect this day for you. The calls, texts, knocks on the door will be greatly reduced. (wouldn’t that be amazing?)
Dont’ check email – Turn off email alerts on your phone. Put your laptop away. You could even set up an ‘out of office’ message every week to explain why you’ll be returning emails the next day in the office.
Screen your calls – Personally, I don’t answer any phone calls on my day of rest (except from family). If the caller is not already in my contacts so that I can know who’s calling, it goes to voicemail. Period!
Turn ‘chat’ off on facebook – I have a feeling you know where I’m going with this. Have you ever been on facebook just catching up with family and friends before going to bed….when someone starts up a ‘live chat’ with you regarding work/ministry? This is a simple issue of setting good boundaries for yourself.
Leave work at work – This is another type of boundary. If you know that you lake the level of discipline to completely refrain from getting caught up on your ‘to do’ list at home…leave those things at the office.
Open your Bible – Sounds cliche, right! But this really is part of honoring a Sabbath. Growing closer to God needs to be a central theme. And the easiest way to do that is to read His Word. (studying for your next sermon or Bible study does not count here, btw)
Meditate – No, not sitting with your legs crossed in an empty room filled with incense. Think about the things of the Kingdom. About the character of Jesus. About the goodness and blessings in your life because of Him.
Now, where have you succeded or wrestled with implementing a day of rest? How do you think you could benefit from having a regular day of rest as described above? And the big question…are you willing to attempt practicing a weekly Sabbath?