A Pennsylvania woman rushing to catch her flight ignored a flat tire and ultimately crashed her car near a moving-walkway that leads people into the Pittsburgh International Airport. The woman apparently was so determined to catch her flight that she continued driving toward the airport even after her car got a flat tire on Interstate 376. That is a bad day!
What does your day usually look like? Sane? Sensible? Sustainable? A Sabbath life is countercultural and counterintuitive to American culture.
If you want to have a Sabbath friendly home, then lead a Sabbath friendly ministry with a healthy rhythm and pace. Some churches are unhealthy and have the rhythm of a roller coaster.
Let’s take a look at what a simple Hebrew schedule might look like for the 21st century family. Consider this a rough draft that you can customize.
#1 RISE AND SHINE BRIGHTLY (not too brightly)
“A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning will be taken as a curse!” (Proverbs 27:14 NLT).
Volume matters in the morning.
If I want someone to talk to in the morning, Jesus is eager to meet with me (even if Janet isn’t). “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
Mornings are not the ideal time to solve problems or reinforce rules at home or church. We can help to make both a place everybody wants to live and serve in.
#2 WORK ENTHUSIASTICALLY
“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper” (Proverbs 13:4 NLT).
A huge part of God’s plan for your life is your ministry. We were created to create – to work before we rest or even worship. Sabbath was initially instituted on the last day of the week (Saturday) as a reward for a week of diligent work.
“Titus…is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative” (2 Corinthians 8:17).
#3 SHARE A MEAL CONSISTENTLY
Have you heard of work-place theft (est. $100 billion a year)? Seventy-nine percent say they would consider stealing from their employer. What about home-place theft? Most would agree that doing personal errands, email, and social networking at work is unethical. What about ripping off your spouse and kids by doing work on family time?
“Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it. As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky” (Proverbs 23:4,5).
Evenings and weekends were not given to us by God to catch up on unfinished work. Studies show that you will get much more done when you are physically rested and emotionally connected.
One of the most practical ways to heed this warning is to disconnect before dinner. When our kids lived at home, we almost did a prison pat-down for cell phones before we sat down for dinner as a family. The television and computer were off as well. The family meal is on the verge of extinction, but it is worth fighting to preserve.
A focus group of young mothers I consulted said that a realistic goal for family meals is at least 3-4 days a week. Regardless of how many meals you plan to have together, the key is to plan ahead and be flexible. My wife, Janet, usually makes each meal in double portions, storing one in the freezer for a future meal. We see this type of planning in the Sinai Desert when God gave them double portions on the day before the Sabbath so that they would not have to work on their day of rest.
No time to cook? Hey – a frozen pizza or take-out together still counts as a family meal!
“Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened ox with hatred” (Proverbs 15:17).
#4 REST IN PEACE
How you end the day and week is important to every person in your home, as well as your ministry. God expects us to settle-up before we settle-in.
“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26).
Unresolved conflict at home or work will rob you of a restful night or weekend, so just stay current and dish out lots of grace. You will need some for yourself later.
How do you create margin for your life and ministry? I would love to hear your thoughts.