Remember the Sabbath

Good morning. I hope you had a great weekend and that your Monday wasn’t, well a “Monday.” A “great” weekend for pastor types means we have one day off and then a good service on Sunday.

For almost all my adult life, I have worked Monday-Friday and, of course, on Sunday. That is not a formula I recommend for just anyone, but, because Bill worked Monday-Friday from 9-5, I never really enjoyed taking a day off during the week. When I did, I felt guilty if I didn’t clean the house or do the laundry.

To stay sane, healthy, and married, I had to become a bit of a fundamentalist about my one day off a week. That wasn’t easy because Saturday is when other people also are off work and often when they want their weddings or counseling or even funerals. Saying no has been difficult. People have gotten angry with me, and some have never forgiven me.

Consistently and persistently keeping one day as a Sabbath is costly, and, at times, painful. While my situation may be unique, my struggle to keep the fourth commandment is not. We are a culture that works too many hours, and we must spend what little spare time we have cleaning house and mowing grass and running kids up and down the road. Rest, renewal, study, prayer, and worship are rather far down our “to do” lists.

God didn’t give us this commandment because God needs us to spend time with God. God gave us this commandment so we can find a rhythm between the sacred and the secular in our lives. Spending six days working and one day renewing our souls may be the secret formula for staying sane and healthy. Unfortunately, we fail to take this principle, and much of the Bible, seriously.

Changing our priorities is expensive and difficult. Failing to do that, though, carries a price that we pay with our very souls.


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