Campus Ministry Matters

When is Your Sabbath

It’s very easy for us to get caught up in the thought that we are required to be on campus every day of the week.  We think that we only have so much time with these students, the week is when they are around, and what are we going to miss if we take a day off.  We think how are we going to get all the work done and what happens if there is a crisis that a student needs my attention.  Well, these are things that I think.  I have always had trouble with taking time off.  But this past weekend I preached a sermon called “Proclaiming a Sabbath” to my students. So I thought on this, Friday, a day of rest for many of you, I might consider asking how you all do it and when you take that very precious Sabbath day.

When I was in Washington D.C., the colleague I worked with took Mondays off.  I typically have made my day Tuesday, which is a weird day but Mondays have become important in my work schedule and Friday are a day I see more students because they have less classes.  I am not sure if I’m going to continue this trend in the spring semester, but I struggle because I don’t yet know what is the best day to take off.  But what I do know is that no matter what day it is, I have to take one off.

Proclaiming a Sabbath with college students has become important for me because of my needs to recharge.  There are a lot of days where 15 hours is pretty typical, mainly because there is paperwork during the day and programming during the evening.  I also pack in my days with the meetings of worship, student leaderships, and other things along with the programming so as to have those days off.  I need some recharge time after days like that.

But the other reason is the act as I tell my students to act.  If I tell them to take a break, to have a chance to find something to do that they might enjoy away from school work for a while, then I have to do the same.  Why would I expect my students to stop working when they are trying to make grades if I don’t stop working to spend time with my family (which is also a priority in my life)? Sabbath taking is the hardest thing for me to do, but it perhaps the most essential.  For students, especially near finals and midterms, Sabbath is the hardest discipline to practice, but all the more important.

So tell me your thoughts.  When do you take a Sabbath?  When are you breaking away from the workload for a little while to restore yourself to wholeness?  And why have you chosen this day as the day for you? And what do you do then to restore that wholeness to yourself?  I hope for those of you on Sabbath that this day might be a blessing for you.

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