WORDS FROM W.W. March 7, 2016
Yesterday I was blessed to be a part of a congregation that was welcoming back one of its pastors from a three-month sabbatical. Since I retired two months ago I’ve been on a sabbatical…sort of! I recommend it…before retirement!
The pastor focused his message on “rest.” Scripture talks about “sabbath rest”, a concept that we read about with a suspicious eye. One of the points he made that I typed into my iPhone was the fact that after Adam and Eve were created they started their lives with a day of unearned rest.
His point hit me! we view rest as something that is earned after a hard day of work, or a day at the end of a long work week. Rest, however, is like a breath of the grace of God. It comes to us because he loves us, not because we’ve worked hard for it.
Of course, our culture doesn’t think along those lines. We’re not sure if Sunday is the first day of the week to begin a new journey with rest; or the seventh day of the week to rest up after six days of battles and struggles.Most of us talk about Monday as being the start of a new week; Sunday is the end of the weekend!
One of the factors in my deciding to retire was rest, or lack of! Monday, traditionally, was my day off…my day of rest, noticeably at the end of my “pastor week.” On Tuesday when a new week was staring me in the face I wasn’t ready to go at it again. If I was an iPhone being charged I was only back up to fifty percent battery life. I did not rest well, or enough.
That thinking is hard for blue-collar Americans who go at it each Monday morning hard and long for forty plus hours divided over five or six days. To rest is too often seen as a luxury, as opposed to a necessity…or even a gift from God.
I’m now in the midst of that weird period- that time when I’m not required to do anything, but feel guilty if I don’t do something. “Doing something” is an affliction of our culture’s mentality. We connect value and meaning to it. When we rest the question that gets asked often is “how long are you going to rest before you get on with things?” Rest is seen as something we’ll get to do a lot after we die…R-I-P!
Personally, I recognize that I’m in a time of being redefined. People view me differently. I’m no longer “Pastor Bill”, even though it is a huge part of who I am. I’m enjoying this new journey, and yet I’m still a little uncomfortable with it. The book I’m reading that is laying beside me on the coffee counter here at Starbucks is entitled The 12 Week Year: Get More Done In 12 Weeks than Others Do In 12 Months. The pastor’s group I belong to is reading it. It w3ill be interesting to see if it has the effect of pulling me in to the fray once again!