Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Monday, May 27, 2013 @ 5:00:00 AM - Written by Doug Hignell -

As I reflect on a recent week, my four-day work week was one of the most productive in months. Why? Because, after many weeks of intense activity, I took a "rest day" the Friday prior. In fact, I even believe that this four-day work week was more productive than many of the five-day work weeks that preceded it.

Maintaining healthy margins requires intentionally taking time to rest from obligations. This is one aspect of the rich and multifaceted concept of Sabbath. Scripture refers to the Sabbath aspect of withdrawing as Sabbath rest. To maintain healthy margins, we need to reinstate the practice of adding to our lives periods of rest, which is not the same thing as recreation. Recreation often involves physical exertion, which is good for you and restorative, but not "restful" in the way
that Sabbath rest is designed. Scripturally Sabbath rest was about a hard core limitation on activity. In addition, we need to learn to walk in Sabbath rest
24/7/365 as we learn to trust in God's provision. This aspect of Sabbath rest is articulated in Hebrews 3 and 4 and will be discussed in another blog post.

There are many reasons why withdrawing for a few hours, a half day, or a full day to actually rest is difficult with our work, family obligations, pace of life, and more. However, in his book, Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight, Norman Wirzba suggests that the most significant reason that we don't institute rest into our lives is the "fundamental doubt of the goodness of God, a suspicion that maybe God's grace is limited or not enough" (37).

When we doubt the goodness of God, we then believe it's completely our responsibility to meet our needs and the needs of our families, friends, and work. To quote Wirzba again:

"Rest is not simply about stopping. When we stop from our work what we are really doing is exhibiting a fundamental trust and faith in the goodness and praiseworthiness of God…we cannot delight in God's provision for us if we are at the same time worried about whether or not God cares for us. Sabbath rest is thus a call to Sabbath trust, a call to visibly demonstrate in our daily living that we know ourselves to be upheld and maintained by the grace of God rather than the strength and craftiness of our own hands...Our temptation is to think that we live through our own effort...The Sabbath asks us to notice. It compels us to reconsider and question with depth and seriousness what all our striving is ultimately for." (37-38).

In light of the above, here's my challenge to you: take out your schedule and look over the next 30 days. Block out one day -- just one -- in which you plan to withdraw from your normal striving and activities. After selecting a day, email me at doug@hignell.com and let me know what date you've set. My next blog post will offer some specific thoughts for your day of Sabbath rest.


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