Blessings from Butner PC
June 6, 2017
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17b-19)
I am preaching at my “home” church this Sunday, the Kirk of Kildaire, Presbyterian, in Cary. (Calling it my “home” church sounds odd, since I think of Butner as my “home” church, but the Kirk is the church nearest my home, of which I have been a member for over twenty years.) I am preaching at the Kirk because the senior pastor is on sabbatical in Israel.
Sabbatical comes from the Hebrew word “Shabbat”, which means “ceasing.” It is an opportunity given to college professors and full-time pastors, typically every seven years and lasting a couple of months or more. But it is not vacation. It is meant for rest and study, often involving travel, so that the person comes back recharged and inspired to continue their work.
The idea of Sabbatical is based on multiple scriptural references in the Bible, from God resting on the seventh day of creation to the commandment to abstain from working the fields during every seventh year. I think a Sabbatical is a wonderful idea.
Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford – financially or otherwise – to take a couple of months off. And yet I daresay all of us could use a break. Which brings to mind the other word derived from the Hebrew “Shabbat” – Sabbath. We are each given an opportunity every week to observe the Sabbath, to take time out for rest and study and worship. But I’ll bet that most of us see Sunday afternoon as an opportunity for some kind of work, rather than rest. I encourage you to pick one Sunday this month to observe the Sabbath as it was intended, and see if you don’t start the new week more energized and refreshed and focused on the Lord.