M-Note 8.19.22

Reflections From My Sabbatical

By Matt Miofsky
I’m back! This weekend, I am returning from a 3-month sabbatical. This is the longest I have gone without preaching in my adult life. I am extraordinarily grateful to all of you for the support you offered me during this time. I can’t wait to share more about it with you over the coming weeks and months, but one thing I want to share with you now is that a sabbatical offers perspective. When you step back and out of the constant motion of doing and going, you can see life differently. Here are a few reflections from the new perspective that this sabbatical offered me.
 
When you have the opportunity to rest, do it. 

Rest is perhaps the biblical command we ignore the most, and it costs us. Times of rest help us prioritize relationships, slow down our pace, give us time to dream, offer us space to deal with tensions in life, and can ensure that we stay moving in the right direction. God created us for a rhythm of work and rest, and when we short-circuit this rhythm, it has long-term consequences. It may mean finding an hour, a day, or a week. Take advantage of those opportunities to rest when and where they come.
 
Each of us is more than the hats of responsibility we wear. 

We are more than the responsibilities we collect over time. Your identity is not just your work, or just your parenting, or just the roles you currently play. You are more than these. This is important to remember because as valuable as these roles in life are, most of them are temporary. They come and they go, they develop, and they change. Take time to discover and remember who you are beyond the responsibilities you have and the roles you currently fill. If you are having trouble, ask a childhood friend what they remember about you from when you were young. It might surprise you!
 
Find activities that bring you authentic delight. 

I think a lot of us feel guilty for making time for those things that bring us joy, and yet the author of Ecclesiastes writes,
 
15 So I commend enjoyment because there’s nothing better for people to do under the sun but to eat, drink, and be glad. This is what will accompany them in their hard work, during the lifetime that God gives under the sun. Eccl. 8.15
 
This doesn’t mean that we shirk responsibility, shy away from hard work, or merely pursue passing pleasures. It does mean that God wants us to experience delight and joy, and that making time for those things is also part of faithful living. Life that is all work is not the life God wants for us.
 
Finally, this summer has given me a perspective of gratitude. 

I have an incredible job, one that I love. I get to work alongside a church full of faithful and committed people, something I never take for granted. We have been entrusted with a church that is ever changing and growing, reaching new people all the time, and I am so grateful to get to lead it. God is preparing really meaningful work for our church to do in this next year, and I have a clear belief that the very best days for our church are ahead of us. All of these lead me to a spirit of deep gratitude to God for you, for our church, and for the future.
 
As I come back, I am excited and energized about what we will get to do in the coming months. I hope you will be a part of it. This weekend, I am back preaching, and I will start a new series called Untethered, where we will talk about the value of questioning your faith. If you have any friends that aren’t sure if they still believe in God, or who are struggling with faith in some way, this is a perfect time to invite them. And for any of you that haven’t been to worship in a while, I hope this will be the week that you come and join me. I can’t wait to see you all!
 
Peace,
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