Yesterday, in our Vintage Series, I talked about how taking a day off, “Never Goes Out of Style.” I have already gotten so much feedback from so many of you about how you felt like I was talking right to you. (Which I love by the way…) However, I also had a few questions about the details of “The Sabbath” and I wanted to share a few additional thoughts that I hope will be helpful.
1. God gave us the 10 Commandments to keep us free not put us in bondage again.
It’s always important to remember that God didn’t give the 10 Commandments to make us feel guilty or to make us bound up to the little details. Instead, He gave them to us to help us stay free from bondage. Therefore, when it comes to taking a day off, God doesn’t want us to be all bound up with rules like, “I can’t mow my yard, or clean out the pantry…” Those are rules that put us in bondage again.
2. The Sabbath is all about Restoration.
I have always viewed the Sabbath as “A Day with No Work.” I mean my typical work. For me of course, that’s ministry. So if I check my e-mail and it puts me into “Work Mode” then I probably shouldn’t do that. Make sense? Here’s another illustration from my life.
I love to write. In fact, I feel as called to write, as I do to pastor, which is a cool thing! When I write, I feel strong. So… for a long time, I used to love to write on my day off. It would recharge me, I would feel like a million bucks, etc. However, a few years ago, when I started writing, “The Up the Middle Church” I suddenly turned my hobby into a job. So for me, I had to stop writing on my day off because it was more like work, then restoration.
3. Do things on your Sabbath that make you feel strong & restore you.
For a long time, playing golf made me feel strong. I loved being outside and walking around exercising. After a while, golf no longer made me feel strong, instead I started coming home more frustrated than relaxed. Conclusion: I gave up golf on my Sabbath. Spend time on your Sabbath doing things that restore you. If reading restores you, do that. If it doesn’t, than don’t. If gardening restores you, do that. If not, than don’t.
4. Find a hobby that you can’t turn into a job.
I highly recommend that everyone get a hobby that looks nothing like your life. Something you can completely escape in and you have NO WAY to turn it into a job. For me, it’s baseball. I love to go to Major League Parks because they look nothing like my life. I love the statistical side of the game. I love the history of the game. I love the fullness of summer in the air. I love that there is movement everyday. I love that there are 2,430 games every season and everyone of them matters. Baseball is my hobby. And as of yet, I haven’t figured out a way to turn it into a job.
When it comes to your Sabbath, remember the Spirit of the law is greater than the Letter of the law. If you ever feel yourself being led toward guilt or bondage, that’s not God and that’s not the point.
Thoughts on Sabbath
I loved this post by Matthew Keller on his blog, on observance of a Sabbath for pastors. It reflects my experience to a "T":