For six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work: it is a sabbath to the Lord throughout your settlements.
One of the difficulties in ministry is that we work on a Sunday. If the Sabbath (Sundays for Christians) is to be holy, then ministers and worship leaders are breaking the law every week. But six days shall we labour – the seventh day is to be a day of complete rest. No mention of an actual day. This is why in ministry we have a day off in the week. To recoup. To relax. To spend time in leisurely activities or with family and friends. To not work. It is not just important, it is essential that we keep that day holy.
But how many times do we get the phone call “I know it’s your day off, but…..” or an emergency happens and our day is gone. Most times we will not replace the day with another. There is a reason for the need of rest. If we do not rest and take care of ourselves – whether ministers or not – we will burn out. You cannot work 24 hours a day 7 days a week on a consistent pattern and not expect to be exhausted. And then we are no use to anyone. We all need to protect our days off and make sure we take time out to rest and recover. Especially if our day off is taken up and we need to change it.
God is our ultimate example. Creation happened in six days and it was seen to be good. But on the seventh day God rested. What other reason do we need???
Loving God, you call us to rest on the sabbath and devote our time to you. But so often we get so caught up in our work and our service to others, that we put you on the “to do” list to catch up on later. Forgive us when we do not make you our priority. Empower us to take time out to rest so we may be able to serve others in your name. Amen
The Rev’d Ruth Watson is a Special Category Minister working in Salford Quays