Ever since I have entered into ministry I have been a Sabbath geek. Some accuse me of just making sure I “get a day off”, but to me the idea of Sabbath is so much more than that. Spend some time in Hebrews 4 reading about rest and think about how that may affect our view of heaven. Sabbath isn’t just a time of laying around, and not doing anything. But it is the kind of rest that rejuvenates our being. Last week I spent a rainy Friday sloughing around the Abbey of Gethsemani (home to Thomas Merton), and while I am sure I lost weight, I know that my soul rested in God that day.
Sabbath is our time to put ourselves back into God’s time and rhythm. That’s why we should treat it as holy.
If you are a seminary student, you will also know how important your time is. I work three jobs and keep a full load in school (and unlike college, I do good). Sabbath rest is something we need to learn to fight for. If you are feeling burned out in school, let that serve as a warning that you can get burned out in ministry.
Time management is also something I geek about. I work in media, doing freelance and working for the seminary I attend. I also serve on a team that plans all of our chapel services at Asbury Theological. Besides those two jobs, I work as a youth minister at a small church. I can’t afford to forget things, so I had to get organized. The biggest thing was time management, because I am so good at doing nothing I could win contests. One day I added up everything I need to do each week and to my surprise found out that I still had almost 35 “surplus” hours each week. This was after adding work, school, homework, and a full 24 hours off for Sabbath.
So I got good at time management. What this allowed me to do was to set time aside each day for “mini” Sabbath, and full day each week, and some extra time to just spend with the wife. I try to get away for longer that a day every 6 weeks or so, and I am planning to start taking a week-long retreat each year as well. This time alone allows us to get ourselves back into this idea of rest as a deep, personal time with God. I don’t just go through a devotion in this time, but I try to really stop and “be still and know”.
So when I need to go for broke I do it. The thing about Sabbath is, you need to work as hard as possible for six days a week in order to full appreciate this time. I have learned by sticking to my own personal method of organization (a modified version of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”) I can be responsible with my time in order to do the best job at everything I do and to also devote time to Sabbath and not worry about things hanging over my head.