Burnout

Jesus was going through the grain fields on a Sabbath, and his disciples began to pick some heads of wheat as they made their way. So the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is against the law on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry— how he entered the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the sacred bread, which is against the law for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath. For this reason the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
-Mark 2:23-28

It’s happening. 

School is about to be back in session. The church program year is ramping up. Every year around this time, there is a sense of optimism. Of newness. Of energy. Of excitement at the possibilities which await. We make plans. We commit to squeeze the most out of this year. We tell ourselves that this will be the time when it finally all comes together.

And in doing so, we set ourselves up for a cruel fate: Burnout.

By the time the school and program years draw to a close, some among us will crumble under the weight of lofty expectations. Not all of us. Not even most of us. But every year, it seems at least a few of us are left empty, drained, and wishing for the slightest opportunity to recuperate from the sickness that is burnout.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though. In this story, Jesus offers a powerful demonstration of how to live. For him, the lofty expectations were the endless regulations regarding the proper way to spend the sabbath. He rejected those expectations, choosing instead to fulfill the purpose of Sabbath: to find the time of rest that he needed, and to spend that time doing things to replenish him.

As we dive head first into a season of busy-ness, we must not neglect the call to Sabbath. To rest. To recuperation. We must be intentional about doing what we need to do in order to restore our energy, and our souls. Sabbath is a gift made especially for you. How will you receive it?

2 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    Seriously, I wish this were easy to do! I am feeling that now and it is almost like between school starting and Christmas, it is a never-ending stream of ‘stuff’. Nothing better than coming to worship for an hour on a Sunday and taking time to replenish the spirit.

    • Pastor Shea

      I wish it were easy, too :). I think what’s especially hard about Sabbath is that it’s simple – what could be simpler than not doing things? – and we think simple should be easy. But there is SO much pressure working against it, to the point that we can feel guilt if we realize we spent a whole 24 hours without being ‘productive,’ or something similar. And the church tends to contribute to the problem. After all, if you’re not busy with spouses, work, kids, clubs, appointments, etc, there’s always something to do at church.

      I’d love for churches to become a place where we offer Sabbath to those who need it (ie, everyone). How could we accomplish that?

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