Issue No. 231 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features a warm and meaningful new book from U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman. No politics. Just an observant Jew’s insider look at what he calls the gift of rest—the Sabbath. It’s amazing. And this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
Instant Sabbath Coffee
Full confession. I can preach—with the best of them—about the importance of balance in life. (Some are now calling it “harmony.”) I’m a recovering workaholic and I share my most embarrassing, idiotic three-week workaholic marathon in the Team Bucket chapter of my book. In my Management Buckets workshops (like the two-day workshop beginning on Sept. 27-28), I ask participants to put their hands on their hearts and pledge allegiance to the core competency of work/life balance.
Gulp. Then…I pick up and read U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman’s new book about rediscovering the beauty of the Sabbath. I’m pretty sure I don’t mention the Sabbath when talking or writing about work/life balance. Double gulp.
How about you? Sen. Lieberman says he has embraced the fourth commandment. “Most of the time,” he writes, “it feels less like a commandment and more like a gift from God.”
He adds, “For me, Sabbath observance is a gift because it is one of the deepest, purest pleasures in my life. It is a day of peace, rest and sensual pleasure.” (Never heard my Baptist parents, preachers or friends ever use those words about the Sunday rules we railed against.)
Well…this is a tough sell—convincing you to read this book. But I’ll try.
The Gift of Rest is that and more. Lieberman’s plain-spoken, transparent—and phenomenally interesting book—hooked me in the first paragraph:
“It’s Friday night, raining one of those torrential downpours that we get in Washington, D.C., and I am walking from the Capitol to my home in Georgetown, getting absolutely soaked. A United States Capitol policeman is at my side, as we make our way up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol building toward our distant goal, a four-and-a-half mile walk. Before leaving my Senate office I changed into sneakers, but now they are full of water.”
What’s the deal? Lieberman, a “religiously observant Jew,” takes pleasure in the Sabbath gift of rest given by God from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. He shuts down his car and his Blackberry. Calls go to the home phone answer machine. He and his wife enjoy instant coffee on Saturday morning from the pre-heated water prepared on Friday afternoon. The whole deal, to an evangelical workaholic Christian like me, sounds bizarre.
But then…the sheer beauty and meaning of the synagogue services wonderfully described by Joe (sorry, that’s a little too familiar, but he befriended me so warmly in his book) arrested my senses and my spirit. I slowed down. I savored each chapter. Slowly. I read long portions out loud to my wife, Joanne. We laughed. We got misty-eyed and hungry for the God we love. I heard Him speak to me. Wow…this just doesn’t fit the read-a-book, review-a-book program.
My friend Joe again: “When I said the Sabbath is sensual, I meant that it engages the senses—sight, sound, taste, smell and touch—with beautiful settings, soaring melodies, wonderful food and wine, and lots of love. It is a time to reconnect with family and friends—and, of course, with God, the Creator of everything we have time to ‘sense’ on the Sabbath. Sabbath observance is a gift that has anchored, shaped and inspired my life.
“So, you might ask, if it’s such a gift and pleasure, why not just get in the car with the policeman and take an easy, eagerly offered ride home? The book you hold in your hands is my answer to your question.”
And the answers are worth the reading. For Christians who pretend to know their Old Testaments as well as their New Testaments, you’ll enjoy this journey of surprising delights and discover fascinating and quotable insights about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and what happens in synagogues today to connect the centuries. The humor is charming. Sen. Lieberman’s heart is disarming. Mostly though, the case for Sabbath rest is transforming.
To order this book from Amazon click on the graphic below for: The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath, by Senator Joe Lieberman.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) My friend Dan Bolin recently quoted former U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, who said, “I can do a year's worth of work in eleven months but not in twelve.” What do you think God had in mind when he gave us the commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”?
2) Sen. Lieberman’s book was published by Howard Books, a Christian publisher and includes excellent discussion questions and suggestions at the end of every chapter—for people of all faiths—like “Consider not wearing a watch on the Sabbath. Don’t worry about being late. Your main responsibility today is to rest and, thereby, to please and honor God—not to be on time and please other human beings.” Who’s willing to do the “no watch” challenge for the next four Sabbaths?
Valuing Volunteers Checklist - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the Volunteer Bucket, Chapter 12, in Mastering the Management Buckets is to value your volunteers with full organizational support.
So make a list with two columns: 1) How we value our staff, and 2) How we value our volunteers. Which group is valued more?