The Bible starts by saying, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.” It goes on to state, however, that after all that hard work, “By the seventh day, God had finished his work, so on the seventh day he rested. Then, God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.
You may recognize this particular passage of the Bible from John Mark Comer’s book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. Comer discusses it in depth, and goes on to explain its significance. Comer explains why this passage is so important and how it represents the Sabbath - a period of rest, reflection, and religious observation. Comer explains how the idea of the Sabbath illustrates a broader philosophical significance of rest, recuperation, and introspection. He also explains that these periods of relaxation are increasingly overlooked by modern culture.
Comer goes on to list the most common objections to having the Sabbath become part of one’s lifestyle. He explains that some people feel that since they are extroverted, they prefer to stay busy and connected with others. He details how others feel that since they have demanding jobs and family lives that they simply don’t have time to observe the Sabbath. Finally, he discusses how many people feel their responsibilities as parents prevent them from taking a day of rest and recuperation.
Comer’s response to these objections is straightforward. He simply points out that even God, as powerful as he is, took a day of rest and showed the importance of that day by blessing it. Comer explains that in doing so, God built a rhythm into the DNA of creation. Comer contends that by refusing to align yourself with this divine tempo of the universe, you’re falling out of step with the rhythm of creation.
Finding Fulfillment in Daily Life
Coordinating with nature’s divine rhythm is crucial for mastermind leaders, and a valuable lesson that they can teach to their members.
Comer dispels the myth of hurry being correlated with productivity. In fact, he says that when past societies have bucked the Sabbath by enforcing a 7 day workweek, the results have been disastrous. He points out that this policy was tested during the French Revolution and resulted in an economic crash, an explosion in suicides, and a sharp decrease in productivity.
Comer also expands the definition of the Sabbath. He explains that it was translated from the Hebrew word Shabbat, which is often translated as “to stop,” but can also be translated as “to delight.” This dual meaning of the Sabbath is highly instructive. Comer suggests that if you’re trying to figure out what to do on the Sabbath, ask yourself what would most deeply fill your heart with deep joy.
Comer explains how many people in our society feel profoundly out of touch with the sense of peace, gratitude, and awe that the Sabbath represents. Some have trouble accessing these spiritual states at all in their lifetime, much less being able to achieve them weekly.
He also extolls the benefits of simplifying one’s life, and seeing past the deception that wealth or material luxury will make you happy. He even cites French sociologist Jean Baudrillard, who argued that it is not atheism that has replaced cultural Christianity, but shopping. This is to say that we tend to derive meaning from life from what we consume, instead of from spirituality.
Comer explains how shopping has quickly become the number one leisure activity in the Western world, and how money has become our new God.
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more on how to recognize and limit unhealthy consumerism.
The Gospel of Consumerism
Just a century ago, 90 percent of Americans were farmers. Life was hard, but simple. Moreover, barter was commonplace and money was used relatively rarely. Today, only two percent of Americans work in agriculture. That’s because the past century has radically changed the way of life of Americans, due to the effects of industrialization. These effects have been compounded by the advertising industry, which worked overtime to convince Americans that consumerism is the highest value.
Comer cites this quote from a powerful industry insider.
“We must shift America from a needs to a desire culture… People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old had been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality. Man’s desire must overshadow his needs.”
This quote might sound like it’s pulled from a sci-fi dystopian novel, but it was, in fact, uttered by Paul Mazur of Lehman Brothers. E.S. Cowdrick referred to this trend as the “new economic gospel of consumption.”
Through industrialization and advertising, we’ve created a religion of consumerism. Comer breaks down the history of the advertising industry, including their use of Freudian psychological theories to manipulate consumers into behaving irrationally.
Finally, Comer concludes that the only material necessities we need to be happy are healthy food, a place to live, clothing, and household goods. He states that rediscovering the spiritual values that make life worth living is what’s necessary for people to be fulfilled. The same is true for mastermind leaders, and their members.
Are you taking a Sabbath on the weekly and encouraging your members to do the same? If not, experiment with taking a Sabbath this week. Fill your heart with joy, and let your leadership come as the overflow of your rest.
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more on how to integrate a lifestyle that prioritizes fulfillment.