Sept. 3 - 9, 2007


The Sabbath for Busy People

True confessions: I am a sinner. I routinely violate one of God's 10 commandments. And I am a hypocrite as well, because my sin is to disobey the very commandment I regularly berate my congregation and you, dear readers, for breaking. And I do it with consciousness, forethought and full consent of the will. Truth be told, I enjoy it. Moreover, I've done it so long, I scarcely give it a thought anymore.

My sin? I fail to keep the Sabbath day holy, in direct violation of Exodus 20:8-11. It's the commandment that gets the most ink -- three full verses! It specifies no work for me. Yes, as a pastor, I am at a disadvantage, but I confess that I spend most Sunday afternoons or evenings doing work on my computer.  So I am a sinner.

But wait! Verse 9 specifies that not only am I to cease from work, but also prohibted are my family, my animals, my servants -- even the total stranger in my land. So that means I shouldn't put people to work by going to Blockbuster for a video, or the diner for a cheeseburger and coffee. But I have done those things as well. And enjoyed them.

How about you? Guilty as charged? Thought so!

Well there is good news. I have seen the foolishness of my ways. Yesterday I took a Sabbath. All day. No work. No plans. No driving. No shopping. Amazingly, after an hour, my mind began to agitate. It wanted to get busy. It wanted me to read a book, start researching my Sunday sermon, catch up on church paperwork. But I resisted.

Eventually, when my mind realized it wasn't going to win and the agitation faded, a strange sensation: Calm. Refreshment. Joy. Peace. I felt more relaxed than I had in weeks. Now I know what Jesus meant when he said that people weren't created for the Sabbath; rather the Sabbath was created for people.

So I made a promise to myself -- and I urge all you busy people to make it to yourselves as well. Here goes: I will do my very best to observe the  Sabbath by foregoing work on Sunday (after worship, of course) and ceasing to shop, dine out, or engage in commerce on Sunday.

And I have to remind myself: It doesn't only make sense from a health (and mental health) standpoint, it's also commanded by our God! I'll keep you posted.

--Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
Reprint rights gladly given to congregations for nonprofit use. Just include this notice: "Copyright (c) 2007 The Rev. Robert Blezard, Used by permission."

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