Time Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Adam Wormann)
Last Monday, the same day that Time Out launched a devotional about the Sabbath (and coincidentally my day off), I received a call from a parent. There was a situation with a student having some significant difficulty and they needed me to come and talk to them. I broke my own rule and went to see them. My family was gracious and understood the need to help.
A few years back, a church I know pretty well had a child that died. Funerals are usually difficult enough, but when there’s a child involved, it makes it so much harder. There was a memorial service being planned for the following Monday. The worship pastor of the church was asked to lead some music for the service. He kindly told them, “I’m sorry, I can’t do it that day. Mondays are my day off.” I can’t imagine what that response was like for the family.
There was an attempt to trap Jesus in Matthew 12:
“He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” – so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.” (Matthew 12:9-14, ESV)
Last week we talked about the need for the Sabbath, and let me reinforce that thought again. Take a day of rest. Read it again if you need to. But, we’re never truly “off.” We are always called to do good. We are always called to love. We are always called to be followers of Christ. Don’t plan meetings, do logistics, check email, etc. on your day off. There are things like this that you should certainly avoid, and it’s healthy to do so – they can wait. But, please don’t neglect the opportunities that come to you. This isn’t an excuse to work, but a call to always do good.
In Mark 2:27, Jesus adds that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created because we need rest from “work” (not good). God does not need a specific day for us to honor Him. In fact, we ought to honor him the same way, every day (Romans 12:1). So don’t be legalistic about it. If an opportunity to do good comes up, take it. If you can take a few minutes, or an hour or two, to bring someone to rehab, do it. If you can stop to help a woman with a flat tire, do it. If there’s someone crying in deep need, talk to them. Don’t let your day off become a rule, that’s never what God intended. And just maybe, we can wrestle with the question “If I only do what is good and helpful when the opportunity comes during “work” time, what does that say?”
Think about these things for a minute. Give the questions some time:
-What do you really value more, “rule” or “good”? Do your actions agree with that?
-When was the last time that you honestly put yourself aside to do good, apart from paid ministry (if you are paid) or when not “convenient” (if you’re not paid)?
-Jesus makes the contrast to the value of the sheep. What is truly valuable to you in your life?
-Where are your opportunities that you’re taking and/or missing?
(*And yes, it’s okay to change your day off when something like the funeral story comes up, in order to still get some kind of a break, but please value people. And yes, you need to guard yourself and your family. Use discernment in taking phone calls, and clearly communicate to people that you can take emergencies, but if it can wait until the next day, please let it.)
Adam Wormann is a Youth Pastor in Old Bridge, NJ where he’s been serving for the past 8 years. He is also one of the mentors at Life in Student Ministry and the editor of the “Time Out” series. You can stalk him on Twitter and Facebook.
Posted on May 31, 2010