Bible Verse: “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.” Leviticus 23:3, ESV
Scripture Reading: Luke 13:10-17
My friend Ben began to work at Microsoft when it was still a small company. He loved the exhilaration of working there, but he and his wife Mei-Ling were just beginning a family (they now have four children). As a couple, they agreed he would consistently limit his work to forty hours per week instead of the eighty that employees were expected to put in. When Ben told his boss, his boss paused and said, “Okay, but this will limit your career path.” Ben felt conflicted. There was a part of him that didn’t want to be absorbed into his work, but there was also a strong desire to fit in, to work the long hours to become a Microsoft “insider.” Throughout his time at Microsoft, Ben and his wife prayed that God would grant him favor and make him more productive in the hours he was working. And God answered this prayer. Ben ended up advancing in the company and became a key leader in the development of Windows 95, 98, and 2000. Unlike many of his colleagues, he did not burn out.
There are no guarantees that if we keep the Sabbath we will be successful. But honoring the Sabbath (and not overworking the other six days) will give us an opportunity to grow in our trust of God and experience his faithfulness.
If we take time to honor the Sabbath we may actually find that we are less productive than we were before. Like Ben’s supervisor warned, our choice to take Sabbath may limit our career path. God’s provision for us as we honor his rhythms may be the grace to accept being passed over for a promotion, while gaining a greater sense of fulfillment as we do our work more aware of God, ourselves, and the people around us.