1526292I have been writing and sending out a weekly email commentary since August 3, 2000. By God’s grace, I have done this every week without fail. It has become much larger than I ever expected. I estimate that about 20,000 people read it worldwide weekly.Every week was a new miracle. Somehow the Lord would give a word. And even on my worst days people will write in and say that they were blessed. It’s gotta be God.

And now for the first time I am taking a break. There will be no Grace@Work mails the next three weeks. The next edition of Grace@Work mail is the November 17th edition,God willing. Why the break?

Because I need the rest. And because I need to be reminded that I am not indispensable.

Whenever I run a seminar on time management ( I prefer the term life stewardship) I emphasize the importance of down time, the importance of rest.In a world obsessed with productivity, rest gets little respect.Yet the biblical pattern given to us since Genesis sees life defined by a rhythm of work and rest.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” [Exodus 20:8-11 TNIV]

Medical science has long shown the link between adequate rest and health, creativity and productivity. We work hard but we also rest when we need to because that is how God has created us.

But there is another reason why we need to rest. Every time we stop working we discover afresh that the world doesn’t grind to a stop. Every time we take our Sabbath we realize again that the world doesn’t revolve around us or our work. Every time we rest from our work we realize we are not indispensable.

“An excellent way to address our tendencies to overwork and to overestimate our irreplaceability is to incorporate some Sabbath observance into our lives. Sabbath time requires us to stop doing what we usually do and surrender for a while our efforts to act upon the world. If we regularly suspend our usual activities and simply let things be, it is likely to become apparent to us, over time, that our intervention is not continually required.

In discussing Sabbath practices drawn from a wide range of spiritual traditions, the minister and therapist Wayne Muller noted, ‘The problem is not necessarily working hard, the problem is working so hard and long without rest that we begin to imagine we’re the ones making everything happen. We begin to feel a growing, gnawing sense of responsibility and grandiosity about how important our work is and how we can’t stop because everything is on pour shoulders. We forget that forces much larger than we are, in fact, do most of the work.’ “[Anne Winchell Silver, TRUSTWORTHY CONNECTIONS, p. 88-89]

There may be some of us struggling with sloth and the Lord will have other words for us. But most of us and most church workers I know need to hear Silver’s exhortation above.I do.

Writing the weekly e-commentaries has been an experience of weekly miracles. I think it is God’s will that I continue to write them. But for now I need to take a break.

It is a delayed honeymoon, we didn’t get to get away after our wedding, and much needed rest.And an important reminder that my life isn’t built around my work or myself. It is built around God, who is the “forces much larger than we are (that) do most of the work.”

So I’m off. Till the November 17th edition. Till then.

Your brother,
Soo-Inn Tan