The Science of Sabbath

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Please tell me you have taken some vacation this summer. Or at least that you are about to as we enter the final weeks of summer before it all starts up again.

Vacations are good medicine. Science proves it, as we’re about to show you. So take that vacation. And even during the busy school year, be sure to find some Sabbath time each and every week.

Working Too Hard

We all work too hard, some of us more than others. Pastors do it; I’m married to one, and she rarely stops pastoring. Scientists do it. White-collar and blue-collar workers do it. Sadly, some have to do it to make a living wage, whereas others do it because there is always more to do whether we get or not.

Excessive work isn’t good for us. Research shows that it certainly is no help to our employers. One study showed after about 50 hours per week, there is very little return. Employees working 50-55 hours a week are every bit as productive as those working 70 hours.

It’s bad for our health. It takes away from sleep we vitally need, and can lead to a host of other problems—including increased likelihood of a stroke.

And it’s bad for relationships. Family, friends, and church community are good for us, but they all take time—time we don’t have if we’re always working.

Rest—or Sabbath—also has benefits for things like creativity. When we stop working, our minds can wander and then we often solve the problems that have been troubling us. But we have to stop first.

So Stop Working. Now!

We need Sabbath. We need a break.

But you knew that already. You know the 4th commandment. You didn’t need to see the science to know that too much work is not good for you. You may even feel it in your bones.

So click a link or two from above, and then file this edition away for your next sermon or lesson on Sabbath taking. This is, after all, a really easy topic to bring some science into your ministry. 

And then stop working. Put your phone down. Step away from the computer (we probably all need a tech Sabbath too). Leave the office early today. If someone asks you what you are doing, tell them both science and your faith implores you to take a break.

Then go hang out with your family or friends. Go enjoy nature. Go fellowship with your church community. Spend time with God. Take a leisurely break, even if it is only an extra 30 minutes of Sabbath.

And know I am doing the same.


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