I think I honored a Sabbath yesterday. It was Labor Day (but most of you know that), and I didn’t really do a thing. And, I loved it!
Okay, many of you know me as an early riser. It’s 4:30 a.m., as I write these words this morning. That’s my norm. I love the early morning time. It’s generally my most creative time. It’s quiet. I can hear God quite clearly early in the morning. Most times I like what He says to me. Sometimes, I wish He would keep it to Himself…but, I digress. What I’m really trying to say is I slept until after 8 a.m., yesterday. Laid in the bed until 9 a.m. It was a wonderful start to a lazy day.
It was all downhill from there. Here’s a synopsis of my day:
- 9 – 10 a.m. Read the newspaper (no, it didn’t take that long–I played a game of my phone for a little while!)
- 10 a.m. My beautiful wife makes me homemade biscuits and scrambled eggs for breakfast!
- 11 a.m. Gym for a workout
- 12 p.m. Went to friend’s house to pick up new golf clubs
- 12:30 p.m. Finally took a shower
- 1:00 p.m. Read and golf on TV
- 2:00 p.m. Nap time
- 3:00 p.m. Go shopping for a bag for my new golf clubs
- 5:00 p.m. Dinner at my mother-in-law’s house
- 7:00 p.m. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives
- 8:00 p.m. Everybody Loves Raymond
- 9:00 p.m. I’m in the bed!!!!
Yup. As you can see…I did absolutely nothing yesterday. Which is exactly what I needed to do. So what if I woke up at 3:45 a.m. this morning. I feel incredible. I feel rested. I feel like that’s what a Sabbath is supposed to be.
Maybe I’m just living in anticipation of next week. I’m not just taking a day. I’m taking several. Gonna’ be sitting on the sands of Gulf Shores soaking up the sun with sand between my toes (and probably in my swim suit). Just relaxing and enjoying the view. Nothing scheduled. Nothing planned. Four days of fun and sun (I hope!).
I discovered the value of doing nothing in 2007. We had never been beach people before. Too much trouble packing up four kids, traveling all day to get to the beach. Packing it all up and going back home. Just too much trouble. Then, we took a vacation and actually stayed ON the beach. Sitting on the beach for three days with nothing to do but read and listen to the waves was the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s the only time in my life I felt justified in doing absolutely nothing. It was one of the most refreshing times of my life. I discovered there is great value in doing nothing.
Yesterday was a great reminder for me that doing nothing has value. I used to believe otherwise. I thought I always needed to be doing something productive, and if I wasn’t doing something productive I was being lazy and felt guilty because I wasn’t doing something productive. My time on the beach taught me that doing nothing is actually doing something, and that doing nothing can sometimes be the most productive thing I can do. Doing nothing is refreshing. Doing nothing is renewing. Doing nothing can change a person’s perspective. Doing nothing can prepare a person for the time when there’s plenty to do. As a pastor, there’s always plenty to do. If we always focus on the plenty, we’ll find our strength diminished. We’ll find our focus blurred. We’ll find our priorities misplaced.
That might just be the reason that one of the Ten Commandments is to “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy” (Exodus 20: 8-11).
Jesus was pretty good at observing this one, too. No, he didn’t always observe it on the same day. He healed and did good on the Sabbath Day, but when he’d been busy with ministry, he’d always slip away for a time of prayer and reflection. Mark gives us a glimpse in his gospel of Jesus’ routine. There, after he had sent his disciples out on a ministry tour, they returned to report all that happened: “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. 32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone” (Mark 6:29-32). Okay, so forget for a moment that in this episode five thousand people showed up and Jesus fed them. Look at the bigger point: Jesus wanted to get away. He knew the value of rest, and sought to teach the value to his disciples. We should learn as much.
I don’t have as many lazy days as I’d like, which is probably okay. I’d probably start feeling guilty again if I had more of them. But, I sure did enjoy yesterday, and I’m sure looking forward to next week. So, let me ask you? When was your last Sabbath?
Until next time, keep looking up…