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The Right-hand Margin

fireworksToday is July 4th, the holiday of holidays for our nation. If you are reading this on July 4th, well… there may be a message in here that you need to consider.

I’ve been looking forward to today for over a week now. No, I don’t have big plans (at least not according to our cultural standards) and that’s just the point. I decided last week sometime that I would take the day off, live this day like the holiday it is. I’m going to create a right-hand margin. … Huh?

If you are old enough to remember using notebook paper, the left-hand margin was provided by this faint red line, right? Almost all notebook paper had that left-hand margin. Most, however, did not have a right-hand margin, so we had to eyeball it and create our own. If we didn’t, our writing ran off the page and our work was lost.

You may want to read that last sentence again.

If you are reading this today, you are working. Ministry leaders are notorious for working all the time. We may not be in the office or in a team meeting or in the pulpit, but we tend to be thinking about ministry a lot. We open up the computer and think, “I’ll just quickly check my email to be sure there’s nothing I need to attend to before I begin my holiday.” Two hours later, we’re still on the computer because we got caught up in some article about ministry that led us to an interesting link, which led to a book search on Amazon who oh-so-helpfully led us to other books of that same genre that we might be also want to purchase…

Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it?

Creating a right-hand margin is not the same as “Sabbath rest.” I think Sabbath rest is the left-hand margin–it’s a given because God commands it, and obeying God is always right and good. But somehow this right-hand margin is different. It is pure holiday. I’m not living in the right-hand margin because God has commanded it, but because I have the God-given freedom to create this space for myself. It’s like giving over and above the tithe. I am creating a right-hand margin for the good of my soul because, in turn, that nourishes my relationship with God and with others, as well as my ministry.

Having said that… I am off to practice what I preached! I’m shutting down the computer and won’t turn it on again today, no matter what! I’m headed for my favorite deck chair with a cup of coffee and a novel to enjoy my right-hand-margin-of-a-holiday!

If you are reading this on July 4th, I pray that you will do the same…



3 thoughts on “The Right-hand Margin

  1. Motherhood is another job where it’s easy to forget about the right-hand margin. Like weeding a garden, there’s always One More Thing to do before resting.

    Happy resting day!!

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