In the corporate world, there’s a term we use called “good faith efforts.” I was thinking about this phrase when recently I was dialoguing with a group about restrictions for what we do on the Sabbath. Some of the group mentioned things they don’t do on the Sabbath, like chores and shopping. Those people were retired.
As I reflected on their comments, I realized that my approach to Sabbath as a younger busy working person was not always perfectly clear of chores and shopping. I still unloaded my dishwasher, did laundry, and prepared meals for the week. I occasionally went out to buy a gift for someone or stopped at the store to pick up something I forgot. Then I thought of busy families. There are still diapers to be changed, laundry to be done, kids to attend to, and so on. Sundays are not without necessary things to do!
More often, a completely free Sabbath is more of a “good faith effort” for me. I do however, spend all Sunday morning focused on God and I try to get all my tasks done 6 out of 7 days of the week, but a few things bleed into Sunday. There just isn’t time to get it all in and still tend to work, volunteer activities, ministries, relationships, and so on. It’s a balance. I suspect others have a similar situation.
For those of us called to much - work, family, volunteering, ministry, relationships and so much more - the Sabbath will be more of a good faith effort and that’s okay. I suspect that God is looking for something more than perfection: the intention and desire to give the Lord that day and laboring to make it work as best we can.