El Sábado

A wealthy investment banker was vacationing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village, when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The banker complimented the man on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”

The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.

The fisherman said he had caught enough to take good care of his family.

The banker continued, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife Maria, then stroll into the village each evening where I play the guitar with my amigos. I have a full life."

The banker scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you, so here's my advice. You would need to spend more time fishing but, with the proceeds, you could buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several more boats. Eventually, you would have an entire fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could even leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, maybe even Los Angeles or New York City, where you could run a globally-respected fishing empire!”

The fisherman asked, “But how long will this all take?”

The banker replied, “Fifteen to twenty years.”

“What then?”

The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO, sell your company stock to the public and become a very rich man. You'd make millions!"

“Millions? Then what?”

The banker said, “Then you could retire, maybe even move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings, where you could play your guitar with your amigos.”

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. —Exodus 20:8

As they say, there is more to life than making a living. Maybe like making a life.

"Yeah, Pastor, I’m working twelve-hour days, seven days a week." They tell me that with a look of pride on their faces, as if I’m supposed to be impressed with it. If God were impressed with people who work too much, then I suppose I should be too. Problem is, He’s not.

God is clear about the high value of a good work ethic. In fact, the Apostle Paul said that if you don’t work, you don’t have the right to eat! (2 Thessalonians 3:10) But the Bible also says that the time we don’t work is time that we keep holy, or “set apart” for other, more important things. The Hebrew noun, translated sabbath means cessation or rest. It's not just a day off from work, but time that's focused on building healthy relationships, with God and our families.

Yet, what we otherwise might never think would be a good idea (like sacrifice relationships with the people we love), we find an excuse to do for the sake of financial profit. (I’m assuming, of course, that those of you who work too hard wouldn’t be if they didn’t pay you to.) God warned us about giving money that much power. When we do, it never ends well. And claiming that we work all those hours for the sake of our families doesn't work either. Regardless of the reason, the relationships still suffer.

I don’t talk to kids who say, “I just wish my parents would take less time off from work,” or wives who say, “I just wish my husband would work more hours.” Let’s be intellectually honest here. It’s not for them. It’s for things.

The whole idea of a biblical Sabbath requires that we establish limits to our vocational endeavors before we even begin our job, or we will end up working too much. Establish limits to our hobbies before we even begin to enjoy them, or we will end up playing too much.

The key to discovering a full and balanced life requires that you take a step back, accept your limitations, and then restructure your schedule to accomplish more important things than simply working a job could ever allow you to.

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