For the past month I have been working with a friend doing various carpentry jobs around the OKC metro area. I have done such work before on a limited basis. So, most of this has been learning new skills and getting to know my friend better. This has been a wonderful new experience. On the days that I have worked, I have generally woken up very early and worked long hours (up to 15) those days. It can be strenuous work physically and it can definitely test your patience when things are not cooperating as you might hope.
However, with that said, working this job and getting to know my friend better has been a wonderful Sabbath. My primary occupation is a youth pastor and a Master’s student. This is who I am. It can become very difficult to live out each of these “jobs.” Learning a new skill and spending time with a friend that I can discuss difficult issues has allowed me to pause, reflect, and learn. It has broken my regular rhythms and has become a means of grace.
Odd that I should say something like that about carpentry and working long, hard hours. As I reflect upon why this is Sabbath-like, I can only come to one conclusion. Working carpentry with my friend allows me to rest from my typical concerns. It is therapeutic. I can rest my mind and find enjoyment in what my hands have made. It’s not about how much money I can make, but it really has become a way to deepen a relationship that I value and learn new skills that I find interesting.
It is a life-giving endeavor. It is a way for me to pray and play, yet oddly gives me rest in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life. Who would have thought that Sabbath can be found in building closets, putting in doors, or trimming out houses. It’s not primarily about the activities we perform, but rendering our lives open to a fresh touch from God in the midst of the places we find ourselves.