What’s a Sabbath with you?
God gathered up a people who only knew slavery in Egypt. As God started to shape them into a people that would bless the world, God gave a commandment to this group of former slaves: rest from work for a day each week. Imagine what it means to a group of former slaves. Their God is commanding them not to work. Beautiful. They are truly free. When Moses reiterates the 10 commandments in Deuteronomy, he adds this reminder to the Sabbath commandment: Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day (Deut 5.15).
In short, my sermon yesterday was this: Sabbath is a gift from God to proclaim our freedom and God’s provision. You are not a slave to anything. God has set you free. You don’t have to work non-stop. God provides.
We also passed out Sabbath permission slips, which I thought were pretty cute. You can have one too.
My Work Week
Sabbath thoughts also got me thinking about my work week. I am so thankful for rhythms and patterns for my week. My brain is so scattered, that if I didn’t relentlessly hold on to a rhythm, I’d fall apart and take my family down with me. This fall, I’ve added a few regular evening activities, so I’ve had to take a look at my work week and move some things around. I thought I’d share it with you all, in case you wonder what a pastor does all week. Hope this helps if you are in ministry.
8am-3pm, some coffee shop in town. On Mondays, I get out of the office and do all of my reading, researching, and writing. I finish the worship services, write the weekly devotion guide we put out, catch up on all my email, and, most importantly, I write my entire sermon on Mondays. I cannot tell you how liberating it is walking into the office on Tuesday Morning knowing that everything for the coming Sunday is done and ready. I learned this little rhythm from another pastor in town that I teamed up with for a funeral. I was trying to get a hold of him on a Monday, and I was frustrated that he was unavailable. Then I was amazed at his discipline. I took up the practice, and I’ve never looked back. I also love striking up conversation in the coffee shops. Helps me get to know the town.
8am-3pm, church office/staff meeting/organizing ministries/visiting people/meeting people in the office/the uninteresting stuff that every job has.
5pm-7pm, ministry team meetings every other week
7pm-9pmish, Theology on Tap. Through a connection at the church, a local bar is opening up just for this small group. Very excited.
8am-9am, church office, usually just email stuff.
9:15am-10:30am, coffee with a group of guys
10:30am-3pm, more usual office stuff, ministry planning, meetings with people. I also usually call Marc Herring at this time.
7pm-9pm, committee meetings
8am-3pm, church office and more of the stuff above. Thursdays, we finalize everything for the weekend and send out our weekly email. This is another day that I’m available in the office. I also focus Thursdays for future planning, sermons and ministries months or years out. I like Thursdays too.
6pm-7pm, more meetings, every other week.
Friday – Day off! Sort of.
7:30am-9am, Bible Study at a coffee shop.
Saturday – Day off! For real! Unless there’s a ministry thing!
Sunday – My Sabbath
The Sabbath is not a time to do nothing! The Sabbath is a gift; the Sabbath is activities that we participate in to proclaim our freedom, praise God for God’s provision, and delight in God’s gifts. If I’m not doing that on Sundays with the rest of church, I don’t really think I should be up front. Sure, I’m kinda working on my Sabbath, but haven’t we learned anything from Jesus? Some work is right for the Sabbath. I hope my work on the Sabbath, primarily leading a group of people in worship and the means of grace, is an activity that proclaims freedom in Christ and directs people to the Giver of gifts. I’m refreshed by Sundays. I also get tired out, so in the afternoons, I turn off my phone, spend time with my family, usually nap or watch a game, mow the lawn, and delight in God’s gifts. That’s a good day.
What do you think? What am I doing too much of? What am I doing not enough of?