categories: accountability, church, leadership, personal, priorities
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April 14th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

46 comments (+ Add)

The Sabbath

God told us to take a day off. Many pastors don’t.

  • Those of you in smaller churches might think, “We simply can’t. Without any staff, there is always an emergency.”
  • Those of you in larger churches might say, “We can’t because there are too many pressing issues in a large church.”
  • Those who are staff members might say, “Our pastor might get a day off but we have to work.”

All those are poor excuses. If you don’t rest, you won’t last.

I’d love to hear from you about your struggles or victories in honoring the Sabbath.

What works for you? How do you communicate healthy boundaries on your day off? When do you make exceptions?

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there are a total of46
  1. Apr 14, 2009 at 6:51 am

    I am a pastor of a small church. I have no paid staff except a part time choir director. You are right the excuses are poor, but they are realistic. I think one of the worst/best things that happened to pastors is the cell phone. It keeps me connected which is good, but it keeps me connected all the time (not so good). I got two calls Easter Sunday when I was trying to have dinner with my family. My last two vacations were interrupted by unexpected deaths and funerals. You go back and forth with the guilt. Ignoring my family and my health and ignoring the congregations needs.. it is a tough one, so Sabbath is not in my vocab, and believe me I can feel it.

  2. Apr 14, 2009 at 7:07 am

    I worked for a Pastor that talked about rest and didn’t do it. I made a habit of taking a day off when I worked for him as a means of helping him take breaks. When I started my church 2 1/2 years ago I kept up the habit.
    In a small church, one pastor situation here are things that have worked for me to keep the boundary:
    1. Tell people about your day off and why it is important.
    2. Teach rest as a spiritual discipline for everyone not just pastors.
    3. Celebrate what you do on your time off.
    4. Ask others what they do with their days off.
    5. Turn your phone/computer off as a regular fast.
    6. When you travel leave instructions on voice mail that you’re on vacation, and that you’ve selected a contact person to answer any questions. Then only answer phone calls on vacation from that person.

    Are there weeks where things are heavy? Yeah. But sabbath is for man not man for the sabbath. The biggest question I wrestle with is the faith it takes to practice a sabbath. Can I trust God to do more with six days, then I can do with seven?

  3. 3Bobby
    Apr 14, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Great, and overlooked, topic. As a full-time post-seminary grad student, 20 hour a week asst. pastor, and 20 hour a week grad asst., I found this post relevant and convicting.
    I think the most important thing to understand about the Sabbath is that it is a gift for our benefit. When we neglect the gift, we’re missing out on something special God has for us. Our resting that one out of seven days, points to the greater rest we have (and will have) in Jesus.

    I guess the difficulty lies in whether we take God at his word or not. Plus, I wonder if we think that we are so important that we can’t possibly take a day off to rest and that’s what prevents us from setting up the boundaries we need.

    Thanks for this post. I think I’ll take a day off this week.
    bg

  4. Apr 14, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I have been in both situations Craig-having staff and being the only one. For over 35 years I have taken Friday off. I served in one church where the Sr. Pastor told me I got no day off…Sunday was my day off. Say what? ‘Course I heard he crashed and burned after I left. I have taken heat for saying, “I can’t do that tomorrow (or Friday). That’s my day off.” I let the folks know in the interview that I have a day off. I work hard the others so I take it. When I am the only on staff I will make exceptions for surgery, especially if it life and death. I guard my day off with passion. I blew that boundary when I first moved here and had to “reclaim” it. I have and do not want to give it up. Generally, I do what I want to do since my wife works. I cycle longer rides. I wash my vehicle. I cut grass. I do housework so that my wife and I can spend time together later. Tell the young guys they have to take the time and make the time!!

  5. Apr 14, 2009 at 7:37 am

    I never got a day off in my last job. I didn’t put my foot down soon enough, and it was killing my marriage. I ended up having to leave that job. My wife couldn’t handle me working there. Now I am very zealous over my day off. Last week was the first week I didn’t take a day off, but it was Easter week, and that’s understandable to her. I made it 10 months without working 7 days. The ship has already been righted, as I took yesterday off and spent it with her.

  6. Apr 14, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Craig,

    Thanks for being who God made you and for being a servant of the King above all else.

    You make a bigger impact in the lives of leaders than you know!

  7. Apr 14, 2009 at 7:56 am

    I do what I want on my two days off. As long as it’s legal and ethical.

  8. 9Anthony
    Apr 14, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Unless there are specific employee policies for time off and rest (I think there should be) it’s really up to the executive staff to be the example to the others on how important the Sabbath is. The sad part is that there are a lot of zealous, young & highly motivated executive pastors that think that they don’t need a day off. They then set the standard for their staff for them to follow and a lot of them get burned. They simply can’t keep up. Everyone is wired differently and has different personal & family situations.

    There’s also a different viewpoint of time off and sabbath when it comes to men and women in ministry. That’s a topic for another day.

    I think the church should be example to the secular business world for a lot of things, including time off and employee rest. But we run church staff into the ground working insane hours. Let’s not forget that unlike most secular businesses… our boss doesn’t need us.

  9. Apr 14, 2009 at 8:14 am

    our lead pastor at our church works 45 hours a week at his job mon-sat, any free time he has he is studying and spending time with his wife. He has no days off and he is feeling it. we are trying to get funds so that he can go full time at our church and quit his other job, but until then what would you suggest. we would appreciate your prayers

  10. Apr 14, 2009 at 8:16 am

    This is so timely… In my life right now, I am leading our student ministry and also teaching our new service targeted for culturally relevant seeking generations. All of this added responsibility has made taking a Sabbath even harder. I find myself starting off well, but then by the end of the day taking on something or working on a sermon or editing a video or getting something together for Sunday. It is hard to just sit and be still… Balance is the hardest thing for me… When do I know that I’ve done what I can for this week. I feel like there is always something more that I can do or could have done. It’s a rough cycle.

  11. Apr 14, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I’m a young pastor, and I’ve been in vocational ministry for 2.5 years. I am blessed to have a senior pastor and a church that allows (and in most cases, values) the principle of taking a weekly day off. Right now, I’ve elected to take Monday.

    Often, however, I end up doing things that I call “my interests” and what my wife calls “extended work”: reading theology, listening to church-related podcasts, messing around with the latest Bible software and church management programs, etc. I also continue to answer the church phone (it’s forwarded to my cell), emails, etc. She’s right; I often feel like I work a ton on Mondays…. Just not from the office.

    First, thanks Ben (#2) for your input. That list is excellent, and a number of them are things I should put into practice. I’ve got to silence that phone.

    Second, a question. This might border on legalism, but what does a real new covenant sabbath/day off look like? Do things like paying bills, going to the doctor, returning recyclables, blogging, and other miscellaneous errands and tasks have a place on that day? I’d love input here.

  12. Apr 14, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Here’s a key that is often overlooked: we need support staff in our offices that will guard our days off as well. We have a new secretary in our office who will pretty much tell people not to bother us on our day off. People have told her that they were going to call us anyway, & she told them, “well, it is their day off so don’t be surprised if you can’t reach them.” That’s office staff going above & beyond. Our support staff need to be our armor bearers. We need them to help us fend off the “emergencies” that arise on our days off like whether to use a 40 or 60 watt bulb in a classroom or whether we want roses or lilies decorating the sanctuary. You know those crises that just can’t wait until tomorrow.

  13. 14John Ireland
    Apr 14, 2009 at 8:27 am

    This is so important, but often challenging.

    My wife and I have found that sometimes our weekly day of sabbath will span two calendar days. For instance, it might begin at 6p on SAT and go until 6p on SUN.

    Commitment to this tenet of a with-God life does not have to preclude creativity. :)

  14. Apr 14, 2009 at 8:35 am

    A great book that really helped me here is Wayne Muuller’s “Sabbath”. As a full time exec, volunteer teaching pastor/youth minister and husband/father, the tendency was for me to always be “on.” However, I’ve had to learn to let go to keep my life in balance.

    I’m constantly reminded that Christian ministry happened successfully without me for two thousand years, so it can make it a day or two each week while I’m resting…

  15. Apr 14, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I work sunday - thursday. This is something our Lead Pastor established for all Staff pastors here. I put in about 50 hours in 5 days. 14 on sunday. We don’t have any Saturday services. When we go to a Sat I wont have two anymore either. That will happen at the first of the year if not sooner.

    I love you ministry. I am blown away by all the things you guys do. The internet service was awesome. Seriously you are a hero in my mind. Keep going.

  16. Apr 14, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Wow…this is a really tough area for me. It’s definitely something I need to work out. It’s hard working a full time job on top of being involved in planting a church…and with being a new dad as well, even the time “off” doesn’t feel like time “off”. Maybe I need to redefine the word “rest” in my life.

  17. 19Dan
    Apr 14, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I’m struggling with when to take my day. I’m most tired on Mondays but they are the only day where my elders can meet with me. Saturdays right now look the best day but since I’m both the worship leader and preacher at a small church and feel like I need to practice music on Saturday. Not to mention, since it is a small town, every time I go out into the the town I feel like I’m working. I’m sure my head is in the wrong place.

    Since we don’t have children yet and my wife is still looking for work, I don’t think my marriage has suffered. I’ve been able to have date night with my wife. I’m not sure how to order my work week right now.

  18. Apr 14, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I would say that my ideal Sabbath would be a day where my batteries are charged doing things I enjoy, where I connect with God personally (not vocationally), where I invest in my family and I turn off vocational ministry (that does not mean I cannot serve others just not related to my church.

    That’s how I see Sabbath in my world. Now I just need to practice it.

    Love to hear what others have to say, I want to see this with fresh eyes and maximize my Sabbath.

  19. Apr 14, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I’m bi-vocational (40+ hours at church, 15-20 at other job), and haven’t had a regular day off in years, except if I happen to be sick or out of town.

    I’m trying to get things arranged so that I can have Saturdays off (other days don’t work because of my other job), but it’s a killer!

    Part of it is organization on my part - it doesn’t exist! But the main issue is that I can’t get as much done and so have to cram it in on Saturdays.

    My church would love to pay me a full-time salary, but it’s not big enough quite yet.

    I would appreciate your prayers on that!

    And along with another poster, I would love to hear your thoughts on the Sabbath in general. I’ve got one lady here who basically thinks its a sin to do anything on Sunday except go to church (forget the Faith in Action program, if you know what that is), because church is the Sabbath activity. If you want, you can e-mail me with your thoughts so Craig doesn’t have to wade through too much stuff!

    Thanks, Craig for your posts. I read them quite often and am ministered to through them.

  20. Apr 14, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I actually am pretty good about taking time off. I used to be horrible because I wanted to further my ministry/career as a worship leader. I feel like my biggest ministry is my family so I want to be sure I intentionally make time for them.

  21. Apr 14, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Craig,

    I feel your pain concerning the need for rest. I’m 49, I have 7 children, and the youngest is a 5 weeks old. The ‘rest’ you and I speak of here concerns rejuvenation as a result of exhaustion.

    Three things come to mind:

    First, ‘The Sabbath’ was not concerning a ‘rest’ as in ‘rejuvenation’ as if God was exhausted from His work. It was a Sabbath rest of ‘completion’ like the period at the end of a sentence. Another way to understand it is, a rolling ball eventually comes to ‘rest’. The Hebrews wondering the wilderness (in motion) remained in motion under God’s wrath. They never entered “His Rest” (Hebrews 3 & 4). God ‘completed’ his work of creating. Jesus ‘completed’ the work on the cross – “It is finished”. Nowhere does entering “His Rest” imply we can now sleep.

    Second, we don’t need Scripture to inform us we need physical rest. Our bodies are ‘programmed’ to tell us that. Since God built us and built that into us, He didn’t need to send special revelation to inform us of something so simple. Case in point, where in the Ten Commendments does it say, “Thou shalt eat”?

    Using Scripture to motivate people to work for free is ludicrous and violates principles in Scripture. If I suggest you should work paycheck free, you will invoke “a worker is due his wages” or “don’t muzzle the ox that treads the grain”. I too agree with this principle.

    Do as physicians, attorneys, and other professionals do, reach in your self-professed squeaky pocket and pay people to perform these tasks. They are “oxen” as well. If the church has grown to lob-sided then cut back. God is sovereign. The Father has given souls to the Son and the “Son will loose not one”. Not a single soul will lost if LifeChurch is required to cut back overhead or can’t expand by adding another campus for sake of “feeding the ox”. For God can raise up a friend or neighbor or a Gideon Bible to bring the Word that produces faith unto salvation.

    Lastly, I can’t help but notice that maintaining “the Sabbath” as well as the “Tithe” were omitted from the Jerusalem Decree and that being good with the Holy Spirit.

    “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.” Acts 15:28-29 ESV

    Jesus himself, was doing his Father’s work on the Sabbath. The Sabbath isn’t about sleep, it’s about Holiness.

    I’m looking forward to a sermon on abstaining from “eating rare steak”.

  22. Apr 14, 2009 at 10:06 am

    In response to Len’s question:

    I don’t think you have to give up doing everything. The Pharisees hit hard on doing absolutely nothing that resembled work. Jesus allowed His disciples to “work” to pick food to take care of their own needs. I think you should still be able to take care of your and your family’s needs on your day off.

    I think this should also be a family decision. What is your family’s expectation of you on your day off, and do the activities you listed interfere with that?

  23. Apr 14, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Craig, this is the first time I’ve read your blog, and I think this is a great question. I am working full time with two young boys and a wife while attending school and volunteering at a young church plant, and Sabbath is the one non negotiable in my weekly routine. As crazy as this might sound, I think Len’s question is really honest because most of us due to lack of rest and teaching on the subject have forgotten how to take a day off. So, I’ll answer his question practically: first, I don’t set the alarm, so I wake up when the kids wake up. Since my wife stays at home with the boys, I can make her Sabbath by cooking and cleaning up. I intentionally do everything slowly. I stay in my pj’s as long as possible. I turn off the computer and the cell phone goes to silent, and if I feel like looking at it and returning a call, I do, if not, I don’t. I don’t do any reading for school or church, and the day is usually wrapped up with a nice family dinner. This practice has taken about two years for our family to be comfortable with, and its involved much prayer and honest asking God, “How do we rest?”. As a result, communicating this with friends and those we minister to and with, the phone rarely rings and people not only respect our practice of Sabbath but also have begun implementing it in their own lives to the glory of God.

  24. Apr 14, 2009 at 10:22 am

    This may sound too black and white, but hey, I’m black and white.

    YOU JUST DO IT.

    When we put aside the necessity of rest, we also put aside the necessity of God.

    When we HAVE to do something and CAN’T take a Sabbath, we are telling God HE can’t do something.

    We begin relying on ourselves.

    Sabbath is not necessarily a day (if I can get theologically creative for a moment)…it’s a lifestyle of knowing what Christ has for us to do has ALREADY been accomplished through the Cross.

    He doesn’t need us. He needs us to be with Him.

    Two great books - Sit, Stand, Walk by Nee and The Rest of God by Buchanan. Both helped shape my chapter on Rest, Sabbath and Sacrifice in my own little book, Mad Church Disease.

    I am PASSIONATE about this! :)

    Just a little.

  25. 27m@
    Apr 14, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I am 3/4 time at a church plant and I watch my kids full time. I try not to do work 4 nights out of the week and Saturday mornings…does that count?

  26. 28John Ireland
    Apr 14, 2009 at 10:41 am

    RE: Len…I suspect that the integration of sabbath will look different for almost everyone, but a commonality should be choices that create space or margins in your waking hours; space that more than simply allows, but facilitates communion with God in ways that just are not likely when we are engaged otherwise.

    So…I think we can glean quite a bit about the intentions of sabbath from Scripture, even if the specifics look different.

  27. Apr 14, 2009 at 10:50 am

    This is encouraging to me. I recently came from a church that required 50+ hours and six days a week to a church that requires rest. I find myself driven to put in “just a little bit” on my day off or answer calls to support other staff members. It’s a great reminder to be fierce about my day off. It’s hard because I love my job.

    At Len, I get Monday and Saturday off. One of those is supposed to be a “work” day. Doing stuff that is required around the house or whatever. And one of those is supposed to be a “family” day. We’ll go out or just hang around and enjoy each other. It very rarely works out that way. This has been a great reminder to guard that more diligently.

  28. 30Scott
    Apr 14, 2009 at 11:19 am

    My wife & I are pastoring multiple, international congregations in the Middle East. In the States, we worked secular jobs and then did ministry at night and all weekend. It was killing us. When we came here, it was rest or die… it’s hard enough to cross the street & buy bread here, much less maintain and build a ministry. Our Tuesdays (today!) are absolutely precious to us. It’s the day we use to veg or take a quick jaunt out of the city. God knew what He was doing… we just need to follow His lead!

  29. Apr 14, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I suggest everyone read ANNE JACKSON’s BOOK, MAD CHURCH DISEASE!

    It’s not an issue with me. God’s grace grows the church - not me. I take a day off, and could care less what’s going on during that day.

    Remember the parable of the farmer (Matt 13) who scattered seed…THEN WHILE HE WAS SLEEPING THE HARVEST GREW! How arrogant of us to think that we make the world go around! Once I recognized this it was easy to take a step back. Pastors need to sleep more and let the harvest grow by grace! (In context of course - you’ll find no promoting laziness from me).

    May you all receive GREAT GRACE to grow the church!

  30. Apr 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

    brandon (#10),

    Consider downloading a video message from Open (http://open.lifechurch.tv/). It’s free and will give your pastor a Sunday free from preaching (including prep). If that goes well you might want to join One Prayer (http://2009.oneprayer.com/) and run videos the whole month of June giving the pastor a month free from preaching. If that goes well the church might want to consider the LifeChurch.tv Network (http://network.lifechurch.tv/), thereby freeing up the pastor from preaching indefinitely. Then when the church is able to pay him a full-time salary you can continue with Network or he can resume preaching.

    God bless you as you wrestle with this issue.

  31. Apr 14, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I am bi-vocational and I hired a fulltime associate pastor a year ago to handle emergencies and pastoral care. Even then I don’t feel like I get a day off as I am off from my other job on Wednesday’s and use that day to prepare to preach on Sunday, make visits, and other things that I feel would cause me to be overwhelmed if I didn’t. I have done this for about 12 years now and at 47 I am starting to feel it. I am one of those people who knows what I should do but just have a hard time doing it.

  32. Apr 14, 2009 at 11:41 am

    FYI, the book Anne referred to is Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee. It about the book of Ephesians. Great book.

  33. 35dana gagner
    Apr 14, 2009 at 11:56 am

    My vision for my family exceeds my vision for my church. I take 1 1/2 or two days off every week.

  34. Apr 14, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Andy Stanley’s “Choosing To Cheat” is a great book on this subject.. Very short, but he makes his point. I suggest it…

  35. Apr 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I spent 11 years pastoring without boundaries and it finally caught up to me two years ago when I had to take a “forced sabbatical” (i.e. medical leave). I was off for 2.5 months and I had to begin to unlearn a LOT of unhealthy expectations (by me and by others) and actions. One of the biggest changes I made when I came back was taking two days off a week (Friday and Saturday). Friday is my Sabbath. I choose not to do work on that day. Saturday is for household chores and errands. Since doing this, I actually work more hours during my five days than when I was working six days but I feel more rested because I get that two day breather.

    My congregation saw what happened to me as a result of having improper boundaries and have been very good at maintaining my new boundaries. I really liked Ben Rainey’s list and I have implemented many of those as well.

  36. Apr 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Full disclosure: I’m the only paid pastor in our church.

    I didn’t take intentional time off until a pastor-friend pointed out that I was disobeying the Word I taught. I now take Fridays off, and since it’s my wife’s day off work too, we spend the day together while the kids are in school.

    Most of the time we’ll go to the gym together and go home for lunch. As far as what we can/can’t do: basically I understand it to mean that we can do anything that does not fall under our ordinary, provision-giving work.

    One of God’s goals for the Sabbath was to teach his people to trust him to provide. For me, that means I don’t do my pastoral work on Fridays - answer phones, check church voice mail/email, schedule appointments, etc. With very few exceptions, there is no emergency so big that can’t wait the extra day. When it is that big, they’ll call twice, and I’ll know something it up.

    BTW - I am very up-front about Friday. Now if someone even mentions Friday for something, my answer is an unashamed, “Nope!” I mention it in my teaching when it is appropriate. And I really believe my family is better because of it.

  37. Apr 14, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Lot’s of GREAT thoughts. I came from a para-church organization before planting a church. And so understanding the “seasons” of ministry and building in rest in appropraite times is something I try to practice. Notice I said try. Some advice to everyone, get rest because God made us physical, spirtiual, and emotional beings. I made the mistake of being healthy spiritually & physically but not emotionally get rest and filling my tank. I love Bill Hybels quote…”Doing the work of God was killing Gods work in me.” I think that’s close and oh so true! I ended up in hospital and sick for a year because I worked at a pace that was not healthy. One thing I’ve learned though about Sabbath keeping - there is a difference between rest and restoration. We can rest playing golf and watching tv and being with family. But restoration only comes by connecting with God. To all who are in the fight…keep the Faith and hold onto Jesus!

  38. Apr 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    My wife and I reserve Fridays for our day off. We then try to keep Saturdays free of commitments, but that doesn’t always happen. But Fridays will find us disconnected from cell phones, computers and doing whatever we want!

  39. 41Matt Gooch
    Apr 14, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    A day of rest has always been the hardest thing for me to do. I’ve been in ministry for five years, always in a small church bivocational setting. At first, a day off seemed like such a waste of time. By year four, I was clamoring for a day off but couldn’t take it because of the schedule and rythym I had established in my first three years.

    Now, I have a day sat aside, but still have trouble taking it. I feel guilty that there is so much to do and I am resting. I lose this battle with myself more than I win.

    I know it’s not healthy. I know I’ll crash and burn if I don’t start resting. But I keep justifying my actions to myself and continue to run myself into the ground.

    It’s tough. On me, on my wife, on my friends, and on my family. And still I continue not to take a sabbath. I feel like it’s become a foothold for Satan, and from there he wages his own little fight against me.

    It’s no wonder God talks about a sabbath in His Word so much! He knew we silly humans would be so adverse to taking it, and knew Satan could use it to deal real damage to God’s people!

  40. Apr 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    It took me 6-7 years in full-time ministry before I really have started to appreciate and “take” a day off in a week. Now I would simply turn off my mobile phone (where my church would find me through) on my sabbath. That enables me to a much needed rest by way of an afternoon nap (sometimes), family time, and personal reading/reflection as well etc…

    This pattern proves to be rewarding and very beneficial to me personally, my wife and our family, which would in turn do good to the church ministry as a whole.

  41. Apr 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    This is something that I am learning about at the moment…For too long I have been the “energiser bunny” always on the go. This year God is telling me to be still and know that he is God…I am looking forward to learning about both Sabbath and Sabbatical, and look forward to growth in a time of Winter for my ministry life.

  42. Apr 15, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Days off can be calendared, but my problem is trying to “be where I am”. Many times when I have to be at work I feel guilty about not spending more time with my family. Then, when I take time off to be with the family, I feel guilty about the work that needs to be done. This robs me of the full enjoyment of both places. I am learning to “be where I am” and enjoy it without guilt about where I am not. Does that make sense?

  43. Apr 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Typo correction

    Craig,

    I feel your pain concerning the need for rest. I’m 49, I have 7 children, and the youngest is a 5 weeks old. The ‘rest’ you and I speak of here concerns rejuvenation as a result of exhaustion.

    Three things come to mind:

    First, ‘The Sabbath’ was not concerning a ‘rest’ as in ‘rejuvenation’ as if God had ever been exhausted from His work. It was a Sabbath rest of ‘completion’ like the period at the end of a sentence. Another way to understand it is, a rolling ball eventually comes to ‘rest’. The Hebrews wondering the wilderness (in motion) remained in motion under God’s wrath. They never entered “His Rest” (Hebrews 3 & 4). God ‘completed’ his work of creating. Jesus ‘completed’ the work on the cross – “It is finished”. Nowhere does entering “His Rest” imply we can now sleep.

    Second, we don’t need Scripture to inform us we need physical rest. Our bodies are ‘programmed’ to tell us that. Since God built us and built that into us, He didn’t need to send special revelation to inform us of something so simple. Case in point, where in the Ten Commendments does it say, “Thou shalt eat”?

    Using Scripture to motivate people to work for free is ludicrous and violates principles in Scripture. If I suggest you should work paycheck free, you will invoke “a worker is due his wages” or “don’t muzzle the ox that treads the grain”. I too agree with this principle.

    Do as physicians, attorneys, and other professionals do, reach in your self-professed squeaky pocket and pay people to perform these tasks. They are “oxen” as well. If the church has grown to lob-sided then cut back. God is sovereign. The Father has given souls to the Son and the “Son will loose not one”. Not a single soul will lost if LifeChurch is required to cut back overhead or can’t expand by adding another campus for sake of “feeding the ox”. For God can raise up a friend or neighbor or a Gideon Bible to bring the Word that produces faith unto salvation.

    Lastly, I can’t help but notice that maintaining “the Sabbath” as well as the “Tithe” were omitted from the Jerusalem Decree and that being good with the Holy Spirit.

    “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.” Acts 15:28-29 ESV

    Jesus himself, was doing his Father’s work on the Sabbath. The Sabbath isn’t about sleep, it’s about Holiness.

    I’m looking forward to a sermon on abstaining from “eating rare steak”.

  44. Apr 16, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    My family and I began celebrating (and I mean celebrating) Sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday! It is the best thing our family has done in ministry! We consider ourselves Sabbath conscious (because observant is a stretch for our expression of it) - we don’t ‘work’ nor do we go out to eat or to a movie or do anything that directly makes another individual have to work (obviously we use electricity and even watch tv)

    My 5 year old son loves this time and even enjoys coming home from school on Fridays to help daddy clean the house for mommy - because the Sabbath is coming!

    I didn’t think my busy schedule would allow for this time but now I am more focused and directed each week!

    My family and I study the Text together…play games together…go for walks…have friends over - we commune with the Father and those He’s surrounded us with…

    Sorry for rambling!