Why It’s A Bad Idea To Use Sabbath As A Time Management Tool

Sabbath was given for our good, but mostly for God’s glory. Let’s keep the focus there.

Business efficiency is an entire industry. There are tools, conferences, and people who are completely devoted to it.

One of the most important developments in that industry is rediscovering the value of rest and recovery. A nap, a good night’s sleep, a day off, and a healthy vacation are now promoted as key elements of a productive lifestyle. This is a hugely positive step.

In Christian leadership circles there’s been an understandable tendency to notice that these breaks also correspond to biblical patterns for rest, including the annual pattern of holy days. The most common of these, of course, is the principle of Sabbath.

There is a danger, however, of conflating — and thereby confusing — God’s commands for Sabbath-keeping with the use of time management tools. While Sabbath-keeping has time-management benefits, it’s problematic to see Sabbath through the lens of corporate efficiency or self-improvement.

(This is a follow-up to my prevous article, Why Sabbath Is Harder And More Necessary Than Ever.)

Here are five reasons why:

1. Sabbath Is A Commandment

God’s commandments were given for our good, and Jesus named the Sabbath especially for this, but the main reason we follow God’s commands is simpy because he told us to.

Turning biblical commandments into time management hacks diminishes the value of them.

2. Sabbath Is A Day For Worship

Worship is not efficient. It takes deliberate time in ways that often seem wasteful. The Bible constantly tells us to wait on God. Wait. Not hurry. Wait.

Waiting is not efficient, but it is necessary.

3. Sabbath Is A Day Of Rest

Efficiency is helpful. It can give us more time to rest, if we allow it. But most efficiency hacks aren’t used to get more rest, but to do more work.

Rest is essential, but it’s not efficient. If we only see it as a time-management tool we’ll probably stop doing it.

4. Sabbath Is A Day Of Remembrance

Efficiency and time management are forward-looking. They should be.

Sabbath pauses that forward momentum to appreciate the current moment and to remember what God has done in the past. Sabbath faces us in an entirely different direction than efficiency does.

5. Sabbath Needs To Stay Focused On God

When we use Sabbath for time management, we take the attention away from where it belongs — as a day to focus on our creator and the salvation given to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

In comparison to that, efficiency is trading down.

Sabbath was given for our good, but mostly for God’s glory. Let’s keep the focus there.

(Photo by Marco Verch | Flickr)


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