My monthly web column for kids ministry leaders, For Your Soul, was featured front and center on the ChristianityToday.com website today. Usually it's tucked away on the Today's Children's Ministry page. That's the good news.
The bad news is that said column contained an error--a glaring one. I wrote about Sabbath, and said it was the sixth commandment. Nope. It's the fourth. And I knew that. I really did. But I was hurrying to write my column (which was about slowing down and taking a day of rest, ironically) and somehow that got in there. Ugg.
As my kids would say, "my bad!"Since it was featured so prominently, I've been getting e-mails today (mostly from pastors) helpfully pointing out my error.
Not to put to fine a point on it, these readers have not been kind.
Here's one comment that someone left anonymously on my website:
"I am astounded that you would write an article about Sabbath keeping, have it published online in Christianity Today, and not bother to get the number of the commandment right. Remember the Sabbath is the fourth commandment.
The sixth commandment is Do not Kill."
Ouch. I feel like such a fool.
Ok, Mr. Anonymous Bible Expert, speaking of the SIXTH commandment, here's a verse for you: Matthew 5:21-22. Where Jesus says that anyone who says "You fool!" will be in danger of the fire of hell. In other words, that unkind words can wound like a knife.
Now, I admit, I got the number wrong. And I hate any kind of inaccuracy in my writing. And again, to clarify, it wasn't in Christianity Today (the magazine) but on a website run by the same company. But the number of the commandment wasn't the point of the article--it was about how to practice Sabbath, to take a rest, and how we often don't do that. Still, the majority of the e-mails have been about my mistake, and only a few have asked for help with actually practicing Sabbath, or offered insights about it. And if we know the number, or the letter of the law, but don't live by the Spirit of the law, what good is that?
I wrote about Sabbath in my book Breathe. And I'm currently working on another book on this topic. Because Sabbath is more than commandment number, and even more than just a day. And I do know it is the fourth commandment. but, as the response to my article shows, we tend to focus on the wrong things when it comes to Sabbath.
The Sabbath and Jubilee commandments of the Bible reflect God's heart for justice, generosity. they are commands to trust, to rest, to share. You can learn more about this side of the Sabbath from my friends at Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries.
I'll post more later about some more thoughtful responses to my column. A few people asked me about further details on how to actually practice Sabbath, and I'd love to hear from some of you about that!