Let’s take a poll……how many of us can truly we say that we keep this commandment: remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy? Go ahead. Raise your hand if you do. You can’t see me, but I can tell you that my hand is not raised. I will admit it. Keeping the sabbath and being in full-time ministry is hard. The Prayer Minister at our church preached last week and in her sermon she said that it was difficult to be in ministry and keep the sabbath. But, she reminded us of how important it is. Not just for those of us who work in the church, but for EVERYONE.
God’s words in Scripture are pretty clear: “Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God, you shall not do any work- you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.” Exodus 20: 8-11
If it’s so clear, then why do most of us not honor this commandment? I have a family. I know what it’s like to be busy. I know what it’s like to have kids involved in activities. I also am a full-time Children’s Minister and know what it’s like to desire to serve God in the church. So much so that even on my days off, I am thinking about the kids at church and what event is coming up, or what meeting is next, or what craft I need to make an example of so the kids can see it on Sunday, or what reminders I need to send out to parents so they won’t forget things that are happening with our children’s ministry, or what reminders I need to send out to my wonderful volunteers. It’s a constant stream of thought. My brain is always going, thinking of creative events or lessons, or what my next blog could be about, or reading articles about children’s ministry. It just keeps going…….
Why do I do this? Why am I constantly thinking about my ministry here in the church? Because I love it. It is my passion. 3 years ago when I became a full-time Children’s Minister, I knew I had found my passion. I always wanted to be a teacher growing up. And I have always been a teacher in the church since I began serving God full-time in 2001. I just found that children’s ministry is what I love. But, that does not excuse me from not keeping the sabbath. God did NOT say, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy (but not for all you who work in the church, you must work 7 days).” He wants all of his children to rest, just as he rested on the 7th day. God knows that we need to rest. He knows that we need a FULL DAY to rest in his presence without doing work, no matter what your job is or where you work.
Those of us who work in the church usually work on Sundays. Which means that we must take a day off during the week. For the 12 years I have been in ministry, that day has always been Friday for me (and of course Saturday). I LOVE Fridays! I take my children to school and come home to a quiet home where I can do whatever I want and enjoy the day. It is my sabbath day. But, I am guilty of not always staying at home and resting. There are some Fridays when I stop by the church on my way home from taking the girls to school, maybe because I forgot something or wanted to check my voicemail, or if I ran out of time during the week I might stop in a finish doing something that I wasn’t able to do. Our children’s ministry shares space with our preschool so there are some Fridays when I come back in and begin decorating the hall for an event we are having on Sunday (because I am not able to decorate during the week). These are all excuses, I know. I am so guilty of not keeping this commandment. So, what do I plan to change that can help me?
1. I am making a promise to myself and to God, that I will not step foot in my church office on Fridays. If for some reason I need to be here on a Friday, then I promise to switch my day off to another day during the week. I need to do my very best to keep this promise and to keep this commandment. It’s something that God wants me (and all of us) to honor.
2. I will not check my emails or voicemails from church on Fridays. Oh man……this will be a tough one. I use a laptop and I bring it home with me. I will just have to really work hard at staying off that email on Fridays. So parents, if I don’t answer your email on Friday, know that I will get back to you the next day.
3. I promise that I will rest. A day to just rest and relax and enjoy being in the presence of God.
These will be very hard to do. I hope that you will pray for me that I can truly keep Fridays as my Sabbath. I need this full day of rest so that I can fully serve God with all my strength, with all my heart, with all my mind the other days of the week.
Saturdays will be my family days. It’s the only day that I get to spend with my husband and 2 children where neither of us works and the kids aren’t at school. I have to honor my family time as well. I believe that is what God wants me to do and will also help me to be a better Children’s Minister, serving him here in Dahlonega, GA.
I want to encourage you to remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. My prayers are with all you, especially those of us who work in the church. You can do it!! And I know that God will truly bless you if you strive to keep his commandment to rest.