Discipleship,  Life

Starting With Sabbath

Are you intentional about what you do? Are you intentional about why you do what you do? Are you intentional about how you do what you do?


Six syllables, fourteen letters. But the word is even more important than it is long.

Typically, I am a very intentional person. To consider the questions above, I am not always intentional HOW I do what I do, but I am usually intentional about the WHY and the WHAT. However, on a few items, I am hyper-intentional about the WHY, the WHAT, and the HOW. And I am learning that I am going to need to be hyper-focused and hyper-intentional to do what I am proposing to do.

If you read last week’s blog, you will know that I am about to embark on a journey to incorporate the principles of the Sabbath into my life. I know I am busy. And I know I need rest. And, as I posted last week, I am realizing people that are far busier than me make time for Sabbath, so I can too.

Last week I probably would have used the word “find” instead of “make” in that previous sentence. That is, in the midst of my busy-ness, I was going to focus on shifting and shuffling calendar items and tasks until I managed to find a day to rest. REST. Sabbath!

But now, I do not think it is possible – finding time, that is. Oh, I will have to shift some items around from my weekly tasks. And I will have to move some regularly scheduled items on a certain day of my calendar. But doing so will not solve the problem. It will only allow me to see an “empty” day and begin to fill it with the overflow.

So, I have to not only change what happens on a day, I will have to change how I think about that day. That is, I will have to be intentional. I will have to have intentionality about keeping a day free, to find the rest I need (and that God desires for me) and to recharge myself and my relationships. In other words, I will have to have intentionality (all six syllables and fourteen letters) to find the true me.

I do not consider myself to be missing, at least, not in full. But a part of me must be. I love what I do. I have the privilege of leading a church, of teaching current and future ministers at a college/seminary, of helping under-resourced pastors receive training they could not otherwise receive, and of sharing insights to help church leaders on my weekly podcast. Additionally, I get to share thoughts on this blog, speak to churches, and most importantly share life with my wife and (occasionally) with my adult children and extended family.

But sometimes in the midst of the work, I realize that some part of me is absent. I enjoy life. But sometimes the busyness gets to me. This week is one of those weeks. A few extra items are on my list, and while they are all important, these extra tasks add up and have stripped me of some expected downtime this weekend.

Why? Because as much as I have structured my days and week, sometimes the day does not have enough hours – or should I say the week does not have enough hours, because I work seven days per week.

So, as I desire to move to observing Sabbath, I am going to lose 14.3% of my time (1 day of 7). And if I seek to find the spare time, I will find a little, and maybe even all, of that amount. But I will not maintain it. No, I need to do more than find the time, I need to make the time. That is, I must be intentional!

Of course, that is the essence of fotonni. To live in the world, not of the world is a choice to be intentional. And the more drastic the choice is, the harder it should be. Last week, I mentioned that I must review my time in light of my vision, my mission, my strategy, and my steps. But now, I realize that if I evaluate my time through that filter, I am still afforded the opportunity to use seven days.

But if I view my vision, my mission, my strategy and my steps through the lens of time instead, then I start with six days to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. That is, I am not trying live life and set the time for each element; rather, I am fixing the time, and determining what can be done within that context. Last week, I said that I needed to see where Sabbath fits…this week, I realize that Sabbath is the start and everything else must fit around it.

So, yes, I am still re-evaluating my schedule, but my starting point is different. I plan to begin the journey March 1. (My first post on this will be next Friday, March 6. I may post more than once each week during this study, but I have not yet made that decision.)

I welcome you along for the ride as I post my thoughts and findings each week over the next few months. Even if you do not need a day of rest each week, most everyone needs some sort of regular rest (beyond sleep, although that is important!).

If you could use a day of rest or even if you are simply interested in the process of discovering what that could be, I encourage you to follow my journey and invite others to do the same.

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