Friday, June 27, 2008

One Month

On May 27, I "officially" began my sabbatical. I am not going to elaborate on the past 31 days in this post, but I am going to quote from one of the many wonderful books that I have been reading.

I read this quote on the plane home from Chicago yesterday. It hit me in the face as if I turned my head right into someone's left hook.

The book is entitled, The Rest Of God - Restoring Your Soul By Restoring Sabbath - written by Mark Buchanan - pastor and author (3) books.

What he wrote on page 147 is what nailed me........

"As I left for sabbatical, many people in my church wished me well. They told me they'd miss me, that they'd be praying for me, that they hoped I came back refreshed. And then they usually said, "You deserve this".

I don't. I can think of all kinds of people who deserve it: a single mother who works three jobs to ensure her kids have a decent home and good clothes; a couple who have been clocking twelve-hour days or more six days a week for many years, trying to keep a small business from sliding over the edge; a tradesman who never has time for a holiday when the work is on and never has money for one when it's not; a millworker whose shifts change like the clouds so that he's seen the inside and out of every hour of every day and now never quite sleeps and never fully awakes. I can think of all the people who do their jobs faithfully and capably, even though they die at it a little every day. I like what I do, and I have not worked half as hard as half of these people, and few will ever be given the luxury of a sabbatical.

No, I don't deserve it. It's pure gift, like being born in peacetime and not war, like being forgiven, or kissed, or told you have beautiful eyes. I never earned a minute of it. I don't deserve a scrap of it.

But I feel obliged to the people in my church who have allowed me it. Obliged, not to come back smarter, or thinner, or more eloquent, or more studied up, though all that could help. The obligation I feel is not to pay them back. These things don't work that way, on some barter system where the church trades several months of leave in exhange for shorter, pithier sermons.

The obligation I feel, rather, is to come back restored."

God bless Mark Buchanan, and I thank God he wrote this book