Finish (verb): 1. bring a task or an activity to an end; complete
2. to complete the decoration of
Finish (noun): and end or final part or stage of something.
The Sabbath has gifts for all of us.
Wherever we are, whatever we need, whomever we serve, sabbath is the bonus waiting at the end and the beginning of each week: the weeks that were good, the one’s that were bad, those days that were such a blur, you can’t remember what you did. Good or bad, accomplished or unfinished, the Sabbath is there waiting to take you, wrap you up, feed you, and send you back out again filled up with the experience of rest.
The more “important” we are in our world, the more challenging it is to accept the gifts of sabbath. When I was a server at Lone Star Steakhouse, if I could not work for any reason, it was relatively easy to have someone else cover my shift. If I wanted the money, I had to work, but the restaurant could easily function without me. As we move into positions of leadership, it becomes much more complicated to get someone else to cover for us. For example, the manager of Lone Star had to either be really sick or seriously plan ahead if he could not come into work.
When I think of some of the greatest leaders in my life, I realize they embodied many of the gifts of sabbath to me. Those strong and supportive individuals represented the very definition of being at rest. Knowing they were on deck meant I could feel safe or less worried.
My husband is the first person to wake up each morning, he wakes up the kids, takes Schroeder for a walk, and brews a pot of coffee. Last week, I started sleeping in, first because I was tired and then I realized there are very few times in our family lives these days that it is just him and the kids. I am sure he appreciates this gift I am giving him. But what I am so deeply thankful for in those blurry early hours while I am listening to the sound of our family from the comfort of my bed (this morning included a lost phone and a shattered water bottle) was that I can only be “at rest” because I know he’s got it covered.
It is impossible to be at rest when we are the ones taking care of everything and everybody.
This is one way Sabbath also can assist us in working more intentionally, using our time taking care of others to help them learn to take care of themselves, or to train other people learn how to take care of them.
The sabbath gives all of us a chance to not be the single most important person in any system.
A true leader is someone who uses their strength, influence, wisdom and courage to protect, defend, teach, and guide us while we are learning to become someone who can do the same, first for ourselves and then for others.
Practicing weekly sabbaths and yearly sabbaticals has exponential benefits for those in positions of leadership. It provides us with consistent times and spaces where we let others practice be leaders.
Our real work begins to prioritize making space for others to rise up and take their place in our world, the highest level of work for those in leadership.
art by Sealed with a Kiss