How regularly do you have a 24-hour period in which you do not do anything you regard as work?
How is your health? How are your most important relationships? Are you thriving, or merely surviving?
You may be familiar with some of the following statistics:
- According to a 2013-14 Gallup poll, the average work week for full-time workers in the United States is nearly 47 hours per week (46.7; i.e., nearly equal to an additional eight-hour day), the highest since 2002-03 (46.9). Disturbingly, only 13% of the people polled actually enjoy their work!
- The median of hours worked per week among clergy surveyed a few years ago (2008) was 50 hours (½ worked more than 50 hours/week and ½ work less).
- American adults average less than seven hours of sleep per night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours for adults (age 18-64).
“Busy!” is one of the most common responses to the question, “How’s it going?”
As a society, we’re more tired and more stressed than ever. Many of us simply need to stop.
Over the past two decades or so, Sabbath has experienced renewed interest among Jewish, Christian and even non-religious folks. In April of this year, thousands took part in a “National Day of Unplugging.” Since 2010, a Jewish nonprofit called Reboot “has encouraged Jews to unplug from their devices each Sabbath.” (Naomi Schaefer Riley)
While the majority of Christians do not observe a seventh day Sabbath (Saturday), Sunday—the Lord’s Day, was once a day of rest and, in effect, the “Christian Sabbath.” Perhaps you remember being told to take a nap whether or not you wanted or needed one! But Sundays in 2016 bear little resemblance to the Sundays of the 1970s.
The reality is, we need rest: physically, mentally, emotionally—every part of our being requires rest. Rest is part of God’s created rhythm of life, and we short-change ourselves to our own peril.
If you think you don’t have time to stop and rest, then be forewarned, your body will eventually apply the brakes for you.
If Sabbath is to be a day of rest, the first thing to do is STOP working. If you’re not used to stopping, this will be difficult. But don’t give up. Below are a few suggestions to help you think about possible Sabbath practices:
- Turn off your cell phone and don’t log on to the computer. The world will continue to spin on its axis and revolve around the sun.
- Gather with family and/or friends. Share a meal and conversation. This is one practice which has fallen away with our lessened observance of Sabbath.
- Take a nap . . . you probably need it.
- Read the book you just “haven’t had time” to read.
- Figure out what is work for you, then don’t do it for a 24-hour period.
Sabbath is best observed in community, so enlist the help of your family or a friend (even if your Sabbath is a day of solitude). I encourage you to stop—and rest.
Written by guest blogger, Rhonda L. Carrim. Rhonda is Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Northwest Nazarene University. Previously, she taught and pastored in Trinidad and England. She is passionate about facilitating the spiritual development of prospective and current Christian ministers and leaders. Rhonda is also Errol’s wife.
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