February 5 - 11, 2007



High time to balance Sabbath and work

As a dad and a full-time pastor who also writes on the side, I am never really caught up with my work. Fortunately I thrive on a state somewhere between under-rested and over-caffeinated. I am well aware that too much work can cause problems with health and wellbeing.

Many of us who work too hard have to fight hard to make sure we get time for rest and relaxation. Sometimes when the pressure gets to me, I dream of days on end with nothing to do.

When this happens, all I need to do is go on nursing-home visits. There you can see plainly what effect the opposite problem has. Health and wellbeing suffer when people have too much time and not enough meaningful activity to fill it.  In nursing homes and retirement communities, people have to work hard and fight like heck to keep themselves active and their lives interesting.

How curious it is that modern life has brought us to the stage where our working lives are unhealthfully too busy and our retirement years are, perhaps, unhealthfully too quiet.

It seems not to be a good use of our time, which is, after all, one of the primary gifts that God has bestowed. It would seem we need more of a balance. So here is an idea: In our productive working lives, we should take the Sabbath -- a full day off, once a week -- and celebrate it according to the commandment. No working, no shopping, no housework. Zip. Nada. Just rest.

And with people living healthy lives in their 80s and 90s, maybe it's time to adjust our concept of retirement, too. Leaving the workplace forever at age 65 has been the norm for decades, but that's not even considered old anymore. For them, we need to stress the Sabbath by emphasizing the other six days of the week: GET BUSY! Delay retirement. Volunteer. Turn a hobby into a part-time business. Teach a class on what you know best -- your work or favorite pastime. Read a book a week, alternating between fiction and non-fiction.

It seems that stewardship of life depends highly on stewardship of time.

-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster

Reprint rights eagerly granted to congregations for nonprofit use. Please just include the following notice: Copyright (c) 2007 The Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org.BR>

New This Week:

Embarking on a capital campaign
Congregational Resource GuideFor the uninitiated church, undertaking a capital campaign can seem as intimidating as swimming the English Channel. But here is a resource that can help churches take the plunge – a list of six important steps to keep in mind. Click here for “Embarking on a capital campaign,” from the Congregational Resource Guide hosted by The Alban Institute and the Indianapolis Center for Congregations.

Dana Reardon Teach children stewardship by example
"Older people remember the days when they saw their grandparents paying bills. The grandfather would bring home a pay envelope, and then he and grandmother would sit together and divide it up into other envelopes with labels on them for where money was owed.  First would come the envelope for church." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Canadian Fundraiser
Proven methods to improve faith-based giving

“It is one of the great paradoxes of our generation that in our day of affluence, most churches are struggling to raise sufficient resources to fund their ministry …The truth is that all churches possess very significant untapped potential.” This article presents 12 ways to help tap that potential. Click here for “Proven methods,” from Canadian Fundraiser.

Parish Stewardship Manual
Here is a comprehensive resource chock full of stewardship research, Diocese of San Joseideas and inspiration. Guaranteed you’ll find something useful here. It’s the 140-page manual issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose in California. Click here for “Parish Stewardship Manual,” from the Diocese of San Jose.