A being is free only when it can determine and limit its activity.
– Karl Barth
I must confess that while I was on vacation I wrote reports for the Personnel and Healthy Pastors teams. Many times in the past I have prepared Sunday’s sermon while on vacation. Recently, while I was on vacation, I agreed to take care of a Property & Finance issue that popped up.
This last incident, the Property & Finance issue, led to a discussion with the person involved about why Americans are compelled to work while on vacation. From what I’ve read and personally experienced, Europeans take vacations seriously and get away from work.
Why do many Americans work on their vacations, reading and responding to work emails and responding to voice mails? I’m sure that everyone reading this newsletter can give me an answer to the question. But is that the question to be asking?
If as Christians, we claim to follow the Ten Commandments, then it’s a given that we take time off from work, not just on vacation, but one day a week. That is if believe all the commandments are equal. Or are you one of those folks who thinks it’s more important to not kill someone than to take a Sabbath rest as the fourth commandment requires? I’m not judging, just questioning.
Here’s another thought to consider. Perhaps not honoring the fourth commandment means that one is not honoring the first commandment: You shall have no other gods before Me. Could this be true? Is work a god? For some people, work is their god.
For the pastors reading this, I’m always amused at the Board of Pensions as they try to incentivize us to take a rest, to slow down. Right now, you can earn points if you take a day off. Why is it that we need to be incentivized to follow the fourth commandment?
Reread the Barth quote above and consider if you are free. Or are you a slave to your work?
I am aware of the saying, physician, heal thyself (Luke 4:23). I admit I violate the fourth commandment. But I am trying to take time for Sabbath rest. My first step is to schedule one day a week away from work.
Sessions, are you encouraging your pastor to take a day a week away from work? Are you putting into place a backup for the pastor for those days?
Let me congratulate those individuals who are taking a weekly Sabbath. Keep it up.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Exodus 20: 8-11