A day off is a “bastard sabbath”?

Ok, Thursday, I asked my church planting coach Phil Strout about maintaining a personal devotional life while pastoring and working another job fulltime too. I figured it was a good time to ask since there’s no current crisis. Sort of what Covey would consider a Q2 question.

Then yesterday, I heard an archived podcast by Nelson Searcy in which he said, “If you’re not taking a Sabbath, you’re living in sin and God can’t bless your calendar.” So I emailed him to see if he has tips for bi-vocational types. (His assistant immediately emailed back saying he was on vacation and she’d be sure he got the email when he’s back. Uber-cool!)

And today, I read Mark Batterson’s blog where he quotes Eugene Peterson as saying “a day off is a bastard sabbath.” (To figure out what that means, read the entire post.)

Think God’s trying to tell me something?

If any of you are praying for me as the pastor of VCW, please read Mark Batterson’s post. Great stuff.

Still don’t feel like I’m in crisis but I certainly don’t want to get there!

[PS Another good blog is Steve Sjogren’s Growing Edge Blog.]

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!®," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and FundraisingCoach.com. He's also the executive director of TheNonprofitAcademy.com and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to http://thenonprofitacademy.com/21waysebook

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Lukas

    Hmm…even after reading the article, I feel like there isn’t enough context to get Peterson’s quote. I’ve read his stuff and I love The Contemplative Pastor, but I haven’t read it recently enough to get the point there…Didn’t God take a day off to rest (ie to stop working)? If you take a day to rest and be at home and don’t enjoy it enough, is your sabbath not good enough? I’d love to hear you riff on this for a minute, its something I spend a lot of time thinking about also.

  2. Marc

    GREAT question! There’s LOADS of room for legalism with the Sabbath, isn’t there?

    I can’t speak to what Peterson meant, but here’s how I took it: to me, it’s a matter of intention.

    Zoning out in front of the TV could just be mindless junk food. But it could be incredible restorative.

    For me, the key to sabbath is restoration, re-creation.

    If I approach a space of time with what I might be a sabbath-mindset, the time is much more fulfilling. Case in point, I spent a period of time in college practicing a 24-hour sabbath–Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown.

    As a college student, studying was my “job,” the work I was to do. On Saturday, I could CHOOSE not to study. That was my choice. After sundown, the choice was out of my hands.

    The difference was incredible. The sabbath was so freeing. And permission giving. For an overdriven, first-born, multi-tasking, mildly adrenaline addicted guy like me, slowing down is pretty guilt producing. “Shouldn’t I be doing something productive?” “I must be falling short.” etc.

    Sabbath gave me permission to release that crap. To take my eyes off of myself and me me me, and refocus on the original Creator.

    I’ve reflected a bit about the “living in sin” comment. I bet it was said for effect. Luke 6 is incredibly important in my attempt to be a disciple of Jesus. Verse 5 isn’t capitalized in the Greek. It could easily be “humankind (son of man) is the lord of the sabbath.” Sabbath is there for us, not we for it.

    Check out my sermon on the Prayer of Rest. I mention the rabbinic mindset of Sabbath being created for mankind. It’s God’s supreme gift to us.

    So, while I am still struggling to figure out how to keep it as a bivocational dad and husband, I know I’m doing it because it’s a gift. Not another burden.

  3. Lukas

    sweet. i’ll check your sermon on it too.
    lately as a result of working an extra job, besides the 9-5, the church, and the family, i’ve been working harder at planning for it in advance. if i stay up late saturday night finishing some work, and tell my wife “i have to go up to my office now, so that tomorrow after church i can be totally home” to play with the kid, watch 4 episodes of law and order CI together, etc, that has worked very well. it is way better than just working in the office every chance i get and making this feeling of “i’m always working.”

  4. Marc

    An EXTRA job. Oy!

    (Course I’m not one to talk. I still keep up my FundraisingCoach.com writing, speaking, and coaching…)

    But good for you for clearing time to be “totally at home.” I find I sometimes need to turn off the wireless router. I’m a bit amazed that I “feel” that!

  5. Lukas

    turn…off…the…!!! hey now! lets not get crazy!

  6. Marc

    C’mon, Luke. Jesus calls us to radical discipleship.

    None of this wishy-washy I’ll-leave-the-router-plugged-in-24/7 kind of thing.


  7. Lukas

    if i’m not online, how will i know if i’m relaxing?

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