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News & Good Ideas November 11, 2009
the gift of sabbath
I got off of a plane Saturday night, after speaking all day in another part of the country, and felt a twinge in my back. It had been there off and on for several days but because of my schedule, I had just tried to ignore it. There had been planning meetings to attend, hurting people to help, Bible study material to write. Who had time to deal with a little back ache? Sunday morning I could answer that question all too well: I had time to deal with a back ache that now was running down my leg and up to my shoulders. It was time to take care of it.
We live in a country in which productivity is hailed as one of the biggest virtues. We give praise and admiration to people who say they work "around the clock". We have little patience for people who don't respond to emails immediately. And rest is talked about as a four letter word.  
Where'd we get this idea that rest is bad and work is good? Certainly not from God. A ration of work to rest is given even in creation. 6 days of work and then even God takes time off. God gave Moses a commandment to keep the sabbath for animals as well as humans. Jesus even said that the sabbath was made for the people, not people for the sabbath.
What is this sabbath? It is a time to rest and let God minister to us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. God clearly thinks about the long term, knowing that fatigue and burnout do no good for the kingdom.  Sometimes He even uses pain-filled backs to remind us of the much need rest we're missing.
Michelle Jenks
Good Ideas:

1. Take a day off. If we miss one day off a week, we lose the equivalent of more than seven weeks of vacation in a year. If we miss two days off a week, lose the equivalent of more than 14 weeks!

2. Schedule time during your week as a set appointment for your own down time. We tend to ignore down time if we don't schedule it in and treat it as important as another appointment.
3. Look further out in your calendar and anticipate highly intensive periods of work. Schedule down time during and after that period to rejuvinate.
4. Encourage your church to have one day that is off limits to church meetings. Model the idea of Sabbath.
Michelle Jenks, Grace Institute
2770 Montgomery Rd, Aurora, IL 60504

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