Sabbath Rest is an Act of Faith

Líderes de Niños

Galatians 6:9 admonishes us “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (ESV).

As I have worked with hundreds of ministry leaders over the past 20 years, I have often encountered servant leaders working with diligence, persevering through long times of trial or difficult circumstances. I often encounter brothers and sisters in Christ who are genuinely pursuing good, and do not easily give up.
But as I have coached ministry leaders who are dangerously close to burnout, my top encouragement to them in not growing weary is through exercising God’s provision for rest.
The Lord provides this rest in many ways, but the Sabbath is a gracious gift and regular reminder of our dependence on Him. The Sabbath should not be thought of as a punitive command, as if God’s call to rest could somehow be burdensome.
God could have demanded seven days of work out of us each week. But according to His design, through His miraculous provision, He promised that He would provide seven days’ worth of supply in six days. May we never forget that the Israelites, slogging through the desert, got double provision of manna the day before the Sabbath. Those who sought to gather more — lacking faith and operating in “self provision” — ended up with a worm and maggot infested meal. Quite a lesson.
The Sabbath, when thought of correctly, is an act of faith. Giving financially is an act of faith as I trust God to do more with the money I have left over after I give, than I can do with the whole 100 percent. In the same way, I need to trust God and allow Him to provide miraculously through my hands during six days and not foolishly think I can do more in seven days.
About nine years ago I had a rather poignant wake-up call as I sought to do “catch-up tasks” on Sunday afternoons and evenings. What I found was I was no further ahead and yet I was struggling physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually due to a racing mind and an overtly “American” view of accomplishment. After a powerful sermon on the gift of the Sabbath, some tears, some study, and confession, I sought to shift toward accepting the gift of rest, following God’s example given to us in the seventh day.
God knows our propensity toward self-reliance, our fixation on accomplishment. He knows the sickness that we will put ourselves through because of our own inability to trust.
The Sabbath is not to be thought of as punishment, a time out, or a legalistic “you had better,” but rather a gift. He knows our frailty and wants us to remain in the game long term. Praise the Lord that He gives us the gift of rest…for it could be different.
I am grateful for my brothers and sisters serving the Lord faithfully through children’s ministry. But I know the concept of Sabbath for those serving the body on Sundays can be daunting. How can I have a sabbath rest on Sunday since I work hard on Sunday doing children’s ministry?
I learned a great principle from another pastor: “Stacking three together.” I seek to stack three time periods together in sequence. One morning + one afternoon + one evening. I do not care the order, but I am shooting for three periods of rest that are attached. For example, Friday afternoon, Friday evening and Saturday morning. That is stacking three together. Or, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening. This is a different stacking of three. I might do Sunday evening, Monday morning and Monday afternoon, then seek to re-engage in my work responsibilities Monday evening in preparation for the coming work week.
The Lord of the Sabbath offers the gift of rest to all His children — ministry leaders included. Grow in your faith, and trust in Him, by considering how Sabbath rest can be practically implemented in your life, and watch the work He will do through your faithful obedience.
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