Sunday Hustle or Sabbath?

Sunday hustle or sabbath? Are these mutually exclusive? It feels like it. Church leaders every Sunday (weekend) hustle hard to make your ministry excellent (or sometimes, just “covered”) and when the day is done, they can see the fruit of their work, but they never sniffed at having a sabbath.

I’ve been a proponent that if your Sunday is a work day that doesn’t allow you to prioritize the worship of God, and rest in Him, then you need to find another day or opportunity to do this. This may mean attending another church’s Saturday night worship or another gathering that takes place during the week.

Yet, I’m not convinced our “Sunday work” can’t have some sabbath.

What would it look like for you to be faithful to your Sunday ministry work, but work in such a way that both internally and externally you are more at rest?

What would it look like to walk slowly through the commons area of your church space? To linger in a conversation even though the critical part of the conversation is done? To slip into the worship room for a moment, engage in worship, before returning to your important work down the hall?

I believe we can appropriately hustle for ministry’s sake a Sunday, and still work in a way that reflects some sabbath practices. This effort can be good for our own soul, and also model “sabbath-ways” to those we lead. It can’t replace a more robust sabbath day for you, but they’re still worthy.

Ways to achieve (partial) sabbath amidst the typical Sunday ministry work:

Get your work done during the work week. Many times, our Sunday hustle is not evidence of our hard work, it’s evidence of our lack of hard work during the week.

We’re having to squeeze in a whole bunch of conversations and copy machine work that could’ve been done during the week. We must work hard in our work week hours, so we can be present for the ministry work on Sunday.

Prioritize your time with God on Sundays (1:1 before you “work”). There may be a temptation to forego your 1:1 time with God knowing you’re heading out the door to “do church.” But at least two things counter that: 1) you probably won’t have a lot of time to be still with God once you’re there, and 2) you have the opportunity to minister to people on Sunday like no other time during the week. And that opportunity requires us to rely on God…for our ministry to others to be an overflow of our own personal pursuits toward God.

Know what your “must do” Sunday tasks are and know everything else can be set aside to engage sabbath or ministry moments. I’ve written before about the importance of prioritizing what are “must do” (required) tasks. You need to know what must be done and know that many other things can be dropped or at least delayed should a ministry moment present itself.  

Yes, we might have to stack all the chairs or lock up the building. But if we delay that five minutes so we can spend five minutes in meaningful conversation with someone, well that’s sabbath behavior. Life doesn’t stop on Sundays. And it didn’t for Jesus, but He chose very carefully what took his attention on his sabbath.

Put to rest the desire for everything to go your way. Church leaders are committed. We plan pathways and outcomes we feel God will use. But sometimes our pathways go awry. Or God may choose another divinely-created pathway. We must put to rest our controlling ways. Controlling everything is counter to a sabbath mentality.

Sundays are a work day for me. Yet, I believe I dishonor God and poorly model for those in my church when my work looks frenetic and absent a belief I trust a big God to do His work, His way. So, here’s to hustling sabbath-style.

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