The Grace of Sabbath Rest in the Midst of Busyness

If we are being honest with ourselves, we have at some point in our ministry let our relationship with God be placed on the backburner. We have stopped spending time at rest and at peace with God. We may also be neglecting our families and other important relationships because of the stress and demand of ministry. We may have even let our own health be forgotten because we have bought into the lie that rest and self-care aren’t important for ministers.

Like many things, this loss of balance in ministry often occurs over time. It happens when we let the tasks of ministry take over our lives and our heart for Christ. Before we know it, the mission of Christ could be the last thing on our minds when we are doing the everyday tasks of ministry.

If we let ourselves get to the point that we believe we can do ministry without the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, we will always find ourselves confused and frustrated.

In the second chapter of Genesis, we learn that on the seventh day of creation God rested. In Israel’s founding commands, the Ten Commandments, we learn that the Sabbath day is to be devoted to the Lord alone. Jesus Himself even takes time for Sabbath over the course of His ministry and yet this is often the first thing that we give up when we are losing balance in ministry.

You need to find a Sabbath. Sabbath is the time that we can relax our innermost selves and connect with God in a special way. In Sabbath, we learn about the grace of God and the provisions that God provides us with even as we rest. We learn to be thankful and to love our family, neighbors, and our own selves as Jesus would. God gives our hearts and minds the ability to see God’s creation around us in a new light and to learn how to live life abundantly. The best way to find balance in your ministry is to make Sabbath a central part of your weekly rhythm.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day often get a bad reputation for being too protective of the Sabbath. They had lists of rules and specific guidelines for the things that any good Jewish person could do on the Sabbath. While they may have taken too much of a legalistic stance, they took seriously the Sabbath and the effects that it had on individuals and the community. It is time for you to take seriously this commandment from God and realize the risks of giving up our Sabbath.

Sabbath affects the way that we accomplish both the Great Gommission and the Great Commandment.

Sabbath doesn’t have to be complicated or legalistic. All you need to do is find one day a week and do something life-giving in the presence of the Holy Spirit. You have permission to spend one day a week where you don’t worry about the parent that is getting on your nerves or the student that got in trouble this week. During this time practice being present with God and put away the distractions that hinder you from being able to hear God’s voice. Take time, be patient, and allow God’s grace to work in and through you to restore your soul and mold you into God’s perfect image.

Some Ideas for Sabbath Rest:

  • Spend time in devotions
  • Journal
  • Go for a walk
  • Be present with family
  • Read a book
  • Make something with your hands
  • Spend a day without electronic devices
  • Fast and pray
  • Take a nap
  • Spend a day in silence
  • Go outside and see the beauty of God’s creation
  • Breathe slowly
Jen Willard