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Friday, March 07, 2008

In Defense of the Sabbath

Sharpening Our Tools

"If Jesus, for whom anything was possible, chose repeatedly in the midst of His great teaching to withdraw to quiet places for rest and conversation with His Father, how much more do each of us need to do the same?
Though our modern culture will continually tempt us to do otherwise, we will find that taking a break each week to relax, spend time with God and study His Word will leave us more refreshed and effective parents.

Preacher and author Charles Spurgeon once penned this remarkable statement about the value of Sabbath rest:
'Look at the mower in the summer's day. With so much to cut down before the sun sets, he pauses in his labor. Is he a sluggard? He looks for a stone and begins to draw it up and down his scythe, rink a tink, rink a tink, rink a tink. He's sharpening his blade. Is that idle music? Is he wasting precious moments? How much he might have mown while he was ringing out those notes on his blade. But he is sharpening his tool. And he will do far more, when once again he gives his strength to those long sweeps which lay the grass prostrate in rows before him. Even thus a little pause prepares the mind for greater service in a good cause.
Fishermen must mend their nets and we must, every now and then, repair our mental states and set our machinery in order for future service. It is wisdom to take occasional furloughs. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.' -Lectures to My Students 1954"

And on these words from Dr. James Dobson, our family is resting. We are blessed enough to be doing it in Naples, Florida for the next nine days. My heart was convicted as I read these words in his little book Solutions for Burned-Out Parents, not that we are burned out from our short 10 months of experience. This little gem was laying around the house and I brought it along to thumb through during Sam's afternoon nap today.

Good things to remember in the years ahead, as our time and priorities will be pulled in so many directions--sports, church activities, school work, volunteer work, Scott's career, etc--what do I want Sam to remember from his childhood? Having every moment of his preschool life scheduled with activities, sports and play dates? Hours on end spent in the car running errands?

Obviously not. Those things are all well and good, but tempered by moments of rest. My hope and prayer would be that he'd remember many moments of reading books in my lap, giggling together, praying together before meals and bedtime, and quiet times of rest together as a family. For myself, I know I cannot sustain or create this environment without taking time to sharpen my own tools.

I love the idea of holding Sunday aside, attempting to get bills, laundry, errands done on Saturday or during the week, and giving us time to just BE, doing whatever we need to as a family. Worship, reading, walking, eating a good all sounds good at this point.

We'll have to wait and see what Scott has to say about my new found revelation, he's sleeping at the moment, his face pressed against a pillow, listening to the sound of the wind through the palm trees through the open window.

The road to recovery has begun.


Anonymous said...

We have recently begun to cut back on the "noise" in our lives. It's been wonderful for our marriage and our hearts.
-Kristin M.

Jen said...

:) Glad to know it does make a difference. Now the key will be implementing these changes when we get home...

Anonymous said...

Just popped onto you blog after not visiting for awhile. Great post. Such a great reminder to let Sunday's be the day of rest they were intended to be. That video of Sam brought tears to my eyes! He's adorable. --Ashley

The Scatterbrain said...

Sharpening your tools... Ive never looked at rest like that.. thank you for the wonderful new insight. My husband and i are going for a weekend away too... looking forward to it.
Like i said before, Im visiting your blog for the first time. And the more i read, the more i love it!

Jen said...

Thanks for reading, it was a long one I know. Have a great time on your trip! You guys live in India? That's so cool...all I've seen of it is from The Amazing Race show on CBS, it looks amazing. And I'm jealous of your food. :) Gotta love samosas.

The Scatterbrain said...

ha ha.... samosas are just the 'tip of the iceberg'! There's lots and lots more to indian cuisine! Come visit!