I remember how when I used to work at a movie theater, the law required that I be given certain breaks depending on the length of my shift. Sometimes it was just a 10 minute bathroom break. I might get another 10 minute break or even a 30 minute “lunch” break. Why? Because our bodies physically need those breaks periodically. (And since the family just came down with Covid-19 again, I am being reminded yet again to rest. Thank you to all who are praying for us, this round and this subvariant is much weaker.)
In the bible, we are directed to take a break by God according to the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (ESV)). A whole Sabbath’s day of rest. But guess what? Even before that, rest is an example set by God! “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day
from all his work that he had done” (Genesis 2:2). On the seventh day, God rested. Have you ever thought about this question, “Why did God rest?” Could it be that he became tired from creating all the things he created? Or was he doing something else? I believe, he didn’t exhaust himself. The real purpose of God resting was set an example for us!
That’s what a sabbath is. A time of rest, where one takes a break from work. One is not to do nothing, but to “retreat” and spend time with God. Jesus even set the example, “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray” (Luke 6:12). This is what my family and I will be doing the next three months. I am thankful for our church to give me this time, every seven years, to take three months of sabbath rest. I know of many churches where pastors are not encouraged to take this time of rest, or they aren’t even given this option. What will I actually be doing during this time? One thing I will do, is spend more focused
time with the Lord and ask for direction for myself, my family and the church family. I will also go and visit other churches to be refreshed. I will meet with pastors and take the special opportunity to learn from them. (And I will even attend the SBC annual meeting in Anaheim.) I will also take the opportunity to visit many friends and family that I haven’t seen in the last two years due to Covid. I will try to do all these things, without exhausting myself, because the purpose is to take a break. Please pray for us during my sabbatical. The other thing for you to do, is also consider your own rest and refreshing in the Lord. Plan to rest in the Lord if you haven’t in a while, because it’s biblical!