Labor Day

Quincy Brown



There once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.

Hare ran down the road for a while and then paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, “How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?”
Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, “There is plenty of time to relax.” Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line.  The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for tortoise, they woke up Hare.

Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. The tortoise was over the line. After that, Hare always reminded himself, "Don't brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!”
Since we were children, we have heard the moral that a "slow and steady" pace wins the race. This perspective seems to work well for school. But does this moral apply to churches? I believe that it does. With few exceptions, I’m sure that there are people in your church who are juggling finances, family, faith, and relationships all at once. Call me crazy, but I’m not too sure that Aesop understood what it means to be so busy!

Busyness is all around us. There is probably a good chance that you have said things like: "It'll only take a minute," "I've got to run," "I'm tired of being tired," and "I'm so busy…I don't have enough time to complete all my work.” Perhaps you have overheard a friend using the words busy, tired, and stressed while words like peace, rest, and refreshed don’t seem to be part of their vocabulary.
We rush to get things done—holding cell phones in hand and never looking up. We quickly add our latest event on social media, for fear of missing out. When we plan for the future, we’re easily distracted from conversations when we hear that electronic chirp from an incoming text message. We have so many things scheduled that our calendars look like a hodgepodge Pinterest page. And yes, there are some of us so busy that sometimes we don’t even have enough time for eating. 

I'm guilty of some of these busy activities, except of course not having time for eating. People think that because I'm working, that they shouldn't interrupt me. A typical phone call from a pastor goes like this, "I know that you're busy, and I don't want to waste your time." I remind them that a large portion of my job is to respond.
My response is often, “As the pastor of your church, and you’re just as busy as I am. My busy is just different than yours.” The truth is that we're all swamped. And if we had enough time to stop and think about it, we'll probably discover that we're too busy.
Between the meetings, family and social-life routine, a break from it all is something that we look forward to doing. We all need a break, but given our busy schedule, we doubt that we have time for one. We've become victims of busyness, and there's just too much to do and not enough time to get it done! If you’re anything like me, you need a break.

Next Monday provides us with a built break. It’s Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, and offers many of us with a three-day weekend break. Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. While there's a strong chance that your church will be business, as usual, leading up to Labor Day, I do hope that you will take some time off to recharge your batteries.

If God, who is always creating, took a Sabbath, a day to rest, so can we. Okay, let me not get preachy here, but I encourage you to do the same. The world is stressful enough without us going like the Energizer Bunny, with the misguided belief that our somehow efforts are needed to keep the sky from falling and the sun shining.
I invite you to join me in making Sabbath rest part of your routine beginning with Labor Day.  It doesn’t matter if it’s only 10-15 minutes per day. Intentionally slowing down for that amount of time will help you to recharge and find rest.  Enjoy your day off.  Schedule some time between God and you and pace yourself.  And whatever else you do, over the Labor Day weekend, please try to “pump the breaks in your life and slow down from a “lightning pace, for slow and steady wins the race!” 

On the Journey,


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