Can I really afford to stop?

Honestly speaking, I like to be on the move and on the go a lot. But lately, that has hit a real snag. My kids. With all the transitions in our life right now, they are begging me to slow down. So here is my tension: how will I accomplish all that my heart desires if I stop and rest. This was something I was horrible at when I was a full time farmer. I would work 16 plus hours a day, 6-7 days a week. Now that I’m married with two small kids in a new ministry and a house that desperately needs an overhaul; it feels as though I can’t even start making a dent. Not to mention trying to set aside one day a week for rest. A Sabbath!

I know you are thinking a couple of things. One, the sabbath is an Old Testament Law thingie (technically speaking) that doesn’t apply to us today. This is true, kinda?! Second, since I’m on staff at a church, doesn’t Sunday count as a “day of rest?” Before I answer that one, let’s remember why God gave us the Sabbath command in the first place. Exodus 20:8-11 says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”  God knew man would continue to progress and strain for more and more and more. But ultimately, it would bring man to an earlier grave and man would reject God. So God instituted Sabbath, a day set aside to focus on God, trust Him to provide on this day, and allow our bodies some down time from our heavy grind. God lead by example when He created the world. Work 6, Rest 1. Repeat!

For me, Sunday’s aren’t restful although I’m at church. After you attend 2 services, have dozens of conversations, and go to a life group. Sundays are slammed with busy activity. If any Pastors are reading this, you would be wise not to count Sunday as your Sabbath either. You are focused way more on your role and meeting people on varying levels than you are focusing on God. For your congregation, your family, you faith, and yourself, pick another day as your Sabbath. Sabbath isn’t mandatory, but you are more useful to Christ when you are rested. I believe you will see God bless your ministry in fresh new ways when you take a day of rest.

Now back to my story. Since moving to Nebraska a little over a month ago, we have all been a bit tired. Like we need multiple naps a day. I’m mainly just talking about me. Starting a new ministry is tough. Moving to a new home and town is difficult. Constantly looking at all the updates that need to happen in your new home makes a person like me really crazy. But what is most important right now. My relationship with Christ and my family. I still go to work and I still get into home projects now and then, but they come after the first two. The reality is that I cannot do any of them well if I’m exhausted.

Yesterday, I sat in church with peace in my heart as we sang praises to God, listened to a sermon, and connected with several families. The reason for the peace? I had had my Sabbath the day before. Our family intentionally rested. Ty and I went fishing first thing in the morning, we had a leisurely lunch together, and we tackled zero things from my to do list. The rest of the evening was just carefree and light. My heart was set up to worship and be in the presence of God because of the decision that He could do more with my six days if I gave Him one back. I was meditating on Him the whole day and He blessed it greatly. Today, my wife isn’t fighting two crazy small kids on Monday because we rested on Saturday.

So what about you? Are you going too hard and refusing to rest? Has God put you in a place of waiting and trusting? Maybe everything is fine right now, but you want to continue to grow while deepen your relationship with Christ. Whether you are burning out, forced into a time of rest, or seeking it; a Sabbath is a great thing for you. Don’t waste this time or get bitter about it, let this season be a time where your heart is tender to Him and let your ears be tuned to His voice. He may be allowing you this time so that you can continue faithfully serving Him. So rest my dear friend! I can’t remember who said it, but it rings true. “It is much easier to be Spirit filled when you are rested!” It has been a game changer for me and I pray it is for you!

Grace and Peace to you as you set aside one day a week to rest and reflect on the goodness of God!! If you need any helpful tips, just let me know.

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