This week I am taking some long-overdo vacation time. I’m not going anywhere, so I guess it is called a “stay-cation”! Sometime in January I realized that I had a lot of unused vacation time that I needed to take before the end of June, so I scheduled this 9-day vacation after Easter. I will also be taking some vacation next month as Cyndy, Nathan and I go to Texas to attend the graduation ceremony for our “granddaughter” Olivia, and to visit our daughter and two of our grandchildren.
I am a firm believer in rest/vacation/retreats/… Sabbath!
Sabbath, of course, is a commandment from God. In Exodus 20:8-11, we read:
8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
Why did God command us to take a day off? Because He knew that if He simply made a suggestion that we observe Sabbath, we wouldn’t do it. So, He made it a commandment! And still, we pretty much ignore it!
Now, Sabbath is not simply a day off; it is purposeful rest. On Sabbath we are to stop all work-related activities. We are to focus on God, and His relationship with us. We are to do “fun” things, relaxing things, things that feed our souls and nourish our spirits. I practice Sabbath on my days off and on my vacations. It isn’t just time off; it is time away from my daily labors in order to focus on what truly matters. On my day off (Fridays, for the most part), I stay away from social media and instead spend more time pondering, sitting in my backyard and observing (while trying not to plan on yardwork!). It is a good exercise for me, because usually I am constantly thinking about church work, sermon planning, and the like. I’m constantly thinking about what is next and what I have to do to make sure whatever is next comes off without a hitch! It stresses me out!
Sabbath makes me release that stress and to focus on God (not church, which is my work) and my relationship with Him.
So, while I’m away (through the 25th), I covet your prayers. Pray that I will be able to let go of my work-related stress and to dwell deeply in the presence of God.
And I encourage you to take Sabbath time for your relationship with God.