Last week I finished a 3-part time management series called Can you really manage time? The lesson I hoped to impart is this: we can’t really manage time; we must manage ourselves. It’s not all about tools and technology, but equally about character. Which leads to today’s post.
When I discovered the meaning of the Sabbath in my life, my world was turned right-side up. I discovered a new dimension to managing myself and spending time.
God does not want his children – does not want me – to burn out from ceaseless work, but to regularly rest from my work by taking a Sabbath rest. The idea of a Sabbath rest is a lost concept to modern man, but if it were rediscovered, it would free people of so much angst and worry. For a season I studied the Bible and read a boatload of books on the subject. Here’s what I uncovered.
1. Is a cessation of work. Do a different set of activities on your day off than you do during your workweek. Stop producing, and enjoy the smells, joys, and sweet free time of life. Quit laboring at anything that is for the purpose of accomplishment.
2. Is an antidote to workaholism. The main reason that we are robbed of our Sabbath rest is busyness and the rush for more. Chuck Swindoll says, “Busyness, our answer to pressure, is to run faster, accomplish more. Busyness is a sign of success and importance. We attempt to impress people with a full schedule. We express aloud [our need] for relief from all we live under; but the truth is, if someone provided a way out, we wouldn’t know what to do. Busyness is a way of life.”
3. Provides a boundary to your week. Rest brings closure to your week and gives you new energy for the following week. It enables you to return to your work with renewed vigor.
4. Is what God did Himself. In the Old Testament in the book of Exodus, chapter 31, verse 13, it says that God rested and was refreshed on the seventh day after he created the world. So, for example, if your Sabbath is Sunday, then when Monday arrives, if you feel rested and refreshed, you’ve experienced a Sabbath. If God took a rest, and he tells you to take a rest, then he will provide for you. God rested, he ceased work. You will be rested and refreshed, too, if you cease work for a day.
5. Is a day to pray and play. God has given you approximately 52 days of rest. That’s seven and a half weeks of vacation. That’s 2-3 times more vacation than any employer offers. Invest the time for fun and play. Explore the child within you.
6. Is a great self-management tool. Resting directly affects your following week. If you can develop the discipline of keeping a Sabbath, you will be more focused and creative on the six days you work.
7. Is a step of faith. Resting teaches us to trust in God. Since we cannot manage time anyway, we must learn that God is still in control even as we rest. Often we feel that we are the sole provider for our family, when in fact God is the one who promotes us and gives us the ability to gain wealth.
Let’s face it. During our early and middle years, work will never stop — so, we must stop work. It’s as simple as that. And that’s what the Sabbath is all about. You and I managing our lives the way God wants us to. And when we do, the tyrant Time loses its power to control our lives.