” (17) You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” (18) But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today…” (Deuteronomy 8:17,18 NIV)
“but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. Onit you shall not do any work,” (Exodus 20:10)
As I interact with Corpath members, there is often a theme of busyness and tiredness that comes up. At times, it comes out that they have been “on” 24/7 working at their business. My concern when I hear this is that one of the fundamental truths of Christian spirituality is to rest one day in seven. Scriptures teach, ‘remember the Sabbath to keep it Holy.’ So why do so many in business struggle to protect one day – why do so many not practice a sabbatical rest?
There are many reasons I am sure, but I suspect one core reason is captured in the Deuteronomy text above. We may say to ourselves, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” Many leaders in business have type A personalities. Many owners of businesses know that to be successful you must log long hours. I have no problem with that and I am in awe of the strong work ethic of many of our members.
But there is a very small distance from having a good work ethic to build a business and slipping into a conscious or unconsciously held belief that our businesses will not be successful unless we work 24/7. We must examine our assumptions. Do we really believe that it is God who partners with us to give us the ability to produce wealth? Or do we act as if it is all up to us, regardless of what we say we believe?
A more subtle danger is captured in the phrase, “this is just a temporary crunch time which will soon be over..”. This is where we buy into the myth, that in 6 months or a year or two, the crunch will be over and we will be able to return to spending time with family, caring for ourselves, keeping balance, honoring the sabbath etc. But, while the temporary crunch is on, I must launch this business or I will not be successful. After all, you may say to yourself, “..once I have achieved the wealth I seek I will be giving a portion to God’s Kingdom.” This may end with the sudden realization three years later that what started out as a temporary “crunch time” has become a lifestyle with some dark consequences!
This week’s scripture reminds us that our personal efforts and strengths are not the formula for wealth creation in God’s economy. Conversely, it is through relying upon His strength and obedience to His Word that will bring success. This is not to say that prolonged effort and pursuing excellence in our business skill sets is not required. Rather, it is to say that exclusive reliance upon our own strength and skill sets is not the Biblical formula for success.
At Corpath, we believe that true success is a balance between business life, personal-family life, and spiritual life. To stay spiritually healthy, we must retreat from being “on” all the time to having solitude with God for at least a day a week. If you believe that the route to business success lies through sacrificing imbalance for “a time,” you are buying into a secular driven culture laying a foundation for a destructive and unsustainable lifestyle. Because “..it is God who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” Honor His command to protect a Sabbath day to spend with Him in rest and trust that the rhythm of resting one day in seven is part of the formula for success.
- What does “keeping the Sabbath” mean in the context of your work schedule?
GOING DEEPER – Consider reading 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life by Dr. Matthew Sleeth on the keeping of a Sabbath rest in a technological, always-on world.
Tyndale publisher’s review of Sleeth’s book from Amazon – “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
Sounds nice, but how do we find rest in a 24/7 world? Just as the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, we have become slaves to technology. Our technological tools allow 24-hour productivity and connectivity, give us more control, and subtlety enslave us to busyness itself. Sabbath is about restraint, about intentionally not doing everything all the time just because we can. Setting aside a day of rest helps us reconnect with our Creator and find the peace of God that passes all understanding. The Sabbath is about letting go of the controls one day a week and letting God be God. So how do we do it? In 24/6, Dr. Matthew Sleeth describes how.
© John Wiseman – Corpath Business Forums – www.corpath.ca