“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6.33 (NIV)
The first major revelation that I was on sabbatical took place Monday, June 5. I woke up early and sat down to email the usual Monday email to our network of members. The weekly email typically includes the week’s birthday listing and other information. As I pulled up the birthday list, I realized that I was on sabbatical. I did not send out that email. The second reality check was gathering keys to leave the house to run some errands.
I organize my life based on different sets of keys. I have a set of keys for our home. My car key is separate. I have a set of keys for the church and a separate set of keys for UAB’s 1917 Clinic. This habit of separating keys may seem unusual to you, but it is how I organize my life and keep things separated. I look forward to the day when I only have one set – home and car. Until that day, keys separate my life’s responsibilities.
Monday morning, before leaving home, I reached on my dresser to grab keys to the house, car, church, and UAB. The church keys were not there. I searched to see if I had placed them some place else and did not see them. Again, reality hit me. The previous Sunday, I gave my set of church keys to Rev. Devon Crawford. It did not make sense to make a separate set of keys for him to use during the sabbatical. I just gave him my set and walked him through the building showing him which keys unlocked which doors.
When I realized what I had done, I sat down and had a hearty laugh. The reality of the sabbatical was obvious. I had stepped away from Tabernacle for three months.
As Christians, we should define our lives by a certain set of principles, keys. We should define our lives based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. We model our lives after Jesus.
Jesus often retreated away from the disciples, from active ministry to pray, refocus, regroup, relax, and to privately instruct His disciples. The sabbatical time that I have enjoyed gave me an opportunity to do all the things listed. It was time to get away with family and to be alone. It reaffirmed the need to make sure that I am seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness. I had the unique privilege of being able to examine the “keys” in my life and make sure that they align with the will of God.
All of us can periodically take a sabbatical. A day devoted to prayer, a weekend in the “mountains” can serve as opportunities to reconnect with God and each other. As we get away, we discover that God will give all things that we need to be successful in life and ministry. Amen.