This Sunday, we announced to my church that I’m going to be taking some time away.
No, I’m not in trouble.
For probably 4 years now, I’ve been trying to discern what God may be calling to for the next season of my ministry and life. I’ve been in ministry for 15 years, and almost of all of it exclusively focused around music on Sunday. Recently, however I’ve started to wonder if my role may be evolving a bit to more purposefully include teaching and leadership. After a few conversations with my pastor, we decided that I should take a few months (!) and go into “listening” mode to try and more clearly hear what God is saying and how He may specifically be leading me and my family.
This is called a “Sabbatical”, and is directly related to “Sabbath.” The Sabbath—and also Sabbaticals—was established by God in Genesis 1, and then reaffirmed a few times in the bible, especially in Exodus. We’re told in Genesis 2v1-3, “So the creation of the heavens and earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.”
You know what strikes me about this passage?
God wasn’t really “done.”
Surely God knew that even though he’d brought the universe into being, creation—and the act of creating—wasn’t “done.” Creation is alive, growing, changing. Adam and Eve exist after all, now, and who knows what manner of variables they’ll bring into the picture! (Note see Genesis 3.)
Surely God wasn’t saying, “Whew, that’s done; guess I’ll just sit back and watch it all take shape now.”
I believe that God really knew that actually after you’ve created something—say, the Universe—the real work begins… Conflict, love, hate, war, sacrifice, salvation. All of these things begin to enter the picture after you’ve created something.
It strikes me that even though God is aware that creation is anything but “done”, he is choosing to rest.
Your work is rarely (if ever) going to be “done” enough for Sabbath to make complete sense.
You will have to choose.
You will have to say, “For today, this is done. I am resting now.”