Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Managing Your Sabbath

I observe a Sabbath weekly.  I use that word deliberately.  Sabbath is not just a 'day off'.  It's sacred.  Holy.  Given to me - and you - by God as a gift.  It's also an order, and is one of the Ten Commandments:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work...For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth...but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." (Exodus 20:8-11, excerpts, NIV)

We are not to be legalistic about the Sabbath.  Jesus made this clear when he said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27, NIV)

What this means to me is that I do have a requirement to observe the Sabbath, but I also have to make it work for me, not against me.  We're legalistic about it when we insist that it always has to be the same day for every person.  Sure, that was a real plus in Jesus' day - no doubt about it.  A few decades ago in America, it was also generally accepted that Sunday was a family day; a 'day off'; a Sabbath.  Blue laws insured that we were all able to be together then.  I remember my Dad insisting that I not cut the grass on Sunday.  It was just the way life was.

As ideal as that is, things have changed now.  Our society and culture and world just doesn't work that way.  We have to find a way to observe the Sabbath and still function in the world around us.  I normally take Friday as my Sabbath.  But lately I've had several Friday obligations that are not really movable (like weddings and rehearsals).  On those weeks, I have to get creative.

Added to this is the dynamic of marriage.  Susan and I have the constant temptation to work all the time - to the neglect of our marriage.  I've never met a couple who did not have the temptation towards neglect of their marriage.  We have to be extremely vigilant about our Sabbath and about time away with each other.

Yesterday was one of those days.  Three weeks ago, I made the arrangements and after church on Sunday we escaped to the mountains for a one day get-away Sabbath.  It was so important for our individual health and for the health of our marriage.

So, have you taken a Sabbath lately...are you taking one regularly?

If you are married, when was the last time you broke away from your routine - and the kids - and spent 24 hours together, away from home, just the two of you?

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