I am sitting on a relatively warm Saturday evening in my yard with the fire burning in the fire pit and my dog asleep beside me and a cup of hot coffee on the table next to me. I have been working on my laptop on several teachings during the evening as well as answering emails from young team members in Ukraine, South Africa, Russia and Kazakhstan. There are others from other nations but they will have to wait for another time. There are only so many emails a person can answer in one evening. Anyways, I have decided that I will never catch up on the backlog and see an empty “inbox” so have stopped worrying about it. I did manage over 150 emails this week and that only leaves me with 545+ left to go as of tonight. Not to worry.
It has been a good day with lots of time in my Bible. Almost like a Sabbath but not. I enjoy summer and the slower pace it brings to my life (fewer churches looking for guest speakers and fewer trips overseas as donors and sponsors give less in the summer months and plane tickets become more expensive as it is tourist season and the seats are in greater demand). So, I have more time in the office and actually manage to catch up somewhat on the piles of paperwork that accompany any ministry today. Desk work is not my favourite way to spend time.
However, I have a separate room (3 times bigger than my office) and it is what is called a “study.” At one time all ministers and pastors had a study but somewhere at the start of the 1900’s a study became an office and paperwork and administration took over from the study of God’s Word and prayer. So, a few years ago (almost 20 now) I redesigned my life and the rooms so that in the church buildings as well as at home I had both an office and a study. I make a practice of being in my study more than my office.
However, with laptops and e-book readers the study can move out to the deck or the back yard and the fire pit when the weather permits. Then I get to enjoy the few good months of weather that this part of the world gets and still spend time doing what needs to be done. Today was one of those days.
My summers always have an added “Bible project” where I give extra time and increased focus to the Word of God. Been enjoying an advance copy of a new version coming out in the fall. It is called the Common English Bible (www.commonenglishbible.com) and there are two books of the Bible up on line to download free so people see what it has to offer (the book of Genesis and the Gospel of Matthew). I have recently downloaded both and am having a look at them on my laptop as time allows.
Also studying the whole idea of the Sabbath – what it really is biblically and what God’s intended purpose for the Sabbath was and maybe still is. Many of us in ministry never have a true Sabbath because Sunday is a long work day for us. Most believers do not take a Sabbath because Sunday (or the whole weekend) is either for catch-up when we cut the grass, do laundry, shop for groceries, wash the car … or, due to our hectic world, they work on those days. But one of the Ten Commandments is that we would “observe the Sabbath” and breaking any of the Ten Commandments is a sin so….