Sabbath, it is something that a bi-vocational or volunteer servant in the church may ignore if we are not careful. Heck, I know pastors that are full time pastors that struggle with sabbath. Sabbath is necessary. It's the way we were made. God gave us the sabbath to rest, recuperate, worship, disconnect, reconnect. There are plenty of people I know that have a hard time actually taking a sabbath. They feel guilty or useless if they are not doing something, if they are not working.
I get accused of this because of my addiction to the crackberry I carry. It belongs to FedEx but I keep it with me all the time. It's my cell phone that connects me to friends, family, church as well as FedEx. It also has e-mail capabilities and I get over 100 e-mails a day. When I used to go on vacation it would take me 2 days just to get caught up on my e-mails. I would send e-mails to friends when I got back from vacation telling them things like "deleted 727 e-mails this morning". They would do the same. Now when I go on vacation I can manage my e-mails while I'm travelling and forward them to staff for action and delete the ones I don't need on a daily basis. When I get back to work, I'm current. This actually gives me more peace than setting it aside and having to deal with 700+ emails when I get back...so I am not addicted to work. I know the value of sabbath. I also know the value of not getting run over by a train...which is what work used to feel like on my first day back from vacation.
The family took a vacation in the middle of March, during spring break, and took a cruise. It was a wonderful time. It was the last time I have been able to fully disengage. Before that? Early January... You see with my responsibilities at church and at FedEx I have very busy days and very busy evenings most days too. Sunday starts early to get ready for our early contemporary worship service. I also have traditional worship at 11:00 and then I'm usually back to the church around 4:00 to get set up and practice and perform music for youth on Sunday night. Usually get done Sunday night around 8:00 p.m. Do I worship during that time? You bet! I worship while I'm at FedEx too! I tried to do all things as though I am doing them for Christ. In fact I do all things for Christ.. but is it sabbath? No. So, is Sunday sabbath for me? No. Too many responsibilities, to many things to think about, too many things to listen too. Sunday is worship but not sabbath.
With all that, Saturday is usually my sabbath. Be it work at the church or stuff at FedEx or whatever, it had to be something very important or critical for me to plug in to it, because Saturday was my down time day. It was my day to re-charge my batteries, to disconnect from the world and have some good reflection time. It was sometimes just shutdown time. We all need it and God made it known it was important. It's one of the big 10.
Well, since January I've been taking a Disciples (Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)) History class. I reflected on it some in an earlier post. It was a great class and I learned a lot and I wish that I had more time to do better on the work assigned...but just not enough hours in the day. With that class..my day for sabbath became my day for study. Reading hundreds of pages, watching on line lectures and writing papers. Loved doing it but my day of rest disappeared. This class even loomed over the vacation we took because there were readings and assignments due the week of spring break. So that tension remained during that week of fun.
You can do this kind of stuff for a while but then it begins to wear on you. You begin to go through the motions on some things. Things that have meaning for you become burdens. Trudging through life becomes the norm instead of appreciating God, God's creation and all that surround us.
As I've said before.. the class is over. This Saturday is my sabbath. I am going to finally... after too long... disconnect. My day will be spent with my wife. We're not even sure what we're going to do. We may go to trade days in Nacogdoches, I may work on my daughters 67 mustang some, There are thoughts of a day trip to Galveston. I hope to find some time to read more of that book that is over in the margins of my blog. I've read 1 chapter in a week. I'll have to go back and re-read it because I can't seem to get enough time in a large enough block to read it in one sitting. I may forward a few early e-mails from my crackberry on Saturday morning to my staff that work that day..or maybe I won't. You might not be able to get in touch with me at all.
You see I believe all should do this. I think it is important to our mental health as well as our physical health. Like I said, God made us that way. It's essential to our well being. Time for me to practice what I preach.. and yes, I've actually preached on sabbath before..Now time to practice it after too long away from it. Perhaps I'll twitter my activities on Saturday and you can see it in the margin.. but that would mean I take my crackberry with me..so maybe not.