As Christians, we are commanded to rest. Not suggested, but commanded – and it’s not something that God takes lightly. Instead, it is part of His basic instruction, enshrined in the Ten Commandments. The practice of this command takes different forms in various types of work, but what does it mean for someone working in the field of social media and communications? How am I to keep the Sabbath holy?
A lot of people take work home with them to accomplish over the weekend. This is certainly true of people in my field, but the main difference, at least for me, is that I don’t notice when I’m bringing things home with me. It is so easy to check the news and my twitter feed and to conjure up ideas for what to do during the six days God has allocated me to get all my work done… In a field where all of the work is digital and takes place mostly in my head, how is it possible to not work? Where is the line between work and just checking in on things? It’s incredibly easy to justify work on the Sabbath for me because it never actually feels like work unless I’m sitting at my desk.
But the Sabbath is about more than just not working. God says, “the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.” In other words, it’s not just resting for the sake of resting, but in fact it’s resting done to the Lord. I’m still not entirely certain of all the implications of the Sabbath and what it means for it to be unto the Lord, but it’s quite clear that the Lord has to be involved in some way.
I am meant to rest in Him. Not merely to rest physically and sleep as much as I can, but to spend time with my Savior and rest my soul in Him. I am to remind myself of his sovereignty, grace, and love so I can live within those truths each week. Living in Washington, it’s easy for many people to become consumed by their work. But for the Christian each week has a reset button: a day to just focus on why we do anything at all.
I would argue that keeping the Sabbath holy for me should include a hiatus from the world of politics and the 24/7 news cycle. Work for me is really about staying connected, and that happens in a multitude of ways. In order to keep the Sabbath unto the Lord, I would need to not only disconnect from that world for a day, but also to not worry about what I’m missing or stress about the feeling that I’m falling behind in some way.
The pace of the media is fast, and missing a full day could potentially mean that I miss whole stories. But if I spend my day of rest wondering about what’s going on, then my rest is not done unto the Lord. Rest done unto the Lord should allow me to leave all of those things behind and to just seek his presence and his face. That is the kind of rest that allows me to sit at his feet and say, “I don’t care what’s going on out there.” Only in the presence of my Heavenly Father can this really take place, and I look forward to my next opportunity to disconnect for a day.
Jordan Carmichael works in social media for a not-for-profit organization. He is a member of the 2015-2016 Falls Church Fellows Program.