Friday, March 6, 2009

Finding Margin

Friday is my official Sabbath during the week. I say "official" because it often becomes another day of work and ministry, just without the expectation that I'll go into the office. I'm in a season of busyness where I have both the immediate and the long-term constantly on my mind and filling up my calendar. Between the Dodgeball Extravaganza, planning a junior high summer camp where we partner with over a dozen churches, preparing with my friend/mentor/boss Mark to make a leadership transition with the college ministry at our church, the weekly ministry stuff of teaching and spending time with students, and preparing to be a father, it all adds up rather quickly. I know that when my kiddo is born, the whole idea of Sabbath and resting will seem like a fairytale from memories past. Yet rest isn't something God just suggests; He commands it.

It makes me think of the description of Jesus choosing to frequent "lonely places" for prayer and rest. When did he have time for that between the teaching and the healing and the traveling and the miracles-ing and keeping his disciples out of trouble and everything else? It seems that he had to be intentional about finding margin in his life, creating time to simply rest and seek his Father. He took a step back, was self-aware enough to see when he needed rest, and made the effort. No, he didn't have email or screaming babies or board meetings, but he did have crowds constantly following him and religious leaders trying to kill him. I think if Jesus had an Outlook calendar, it'd be pretty full. Yet in all this, Jesus finds margin.

I'm still trying to find margin in my life, but being intentional about it helps. Margin doesn't happen accidentally, especially in our fast-paced consumer culture where we can be driven by after-school activities, checking our Blackberries, and watching one of the five TVs in our homes, amongst a host of other things. Margin doesn't mean laziness or ignoring responsibility, nor is the Sabbath meant to be a rules-driven religious obligation (Jesus had lots to say to the Pharisees about that).

Margin is simply being intentional about resting in Jesus and following his example, remembering that I can't do it all and remembering the God who can.

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