the shape of leadership

Time to R.E.S.T.

Four ways to spend your sabbath

Influence Magazine on August 2, 2019

For most Christians, Sunday is a sabbath — a day to rest and unwind. However, Sunday is a work day for those in ministry. Consequently, it’s easy for ministers to skip a weekly sabbath. But should you?

God prescribed the Sabbath, one day in every seven, as a time to rest (Exodus 20:8-10). He rested after working six days, and God taught His people to do the same.

Jesus recognized the importance of taking a break, often encouraging His disciples to find a quiet place for downtime (Mark 6:31). Even today, His words invite believers to rest (Matthew 11:28).

This biblical principle is vital to well-being. Ministers need to take time away from their rigorous routines. Without it, burnout may be on the horizon.

Here are four things you should do each time you take a sabbath rest. To help you remember these steps, the first letters spell R.E.S.T.

1. Recharge Your Batteries

The primary purpose of rest is to restore your energy. That’s why a good night’s sleep is crucial. But beyond the physical rejuvenation, you also need to recharge your mental, emotional and spiritual batteries.

Let the tension fall away, and face the week ahead with renewed spiritual vigor.

Throughout the week, you deal with meetings, deadlines and problems that sap your strength. Take time to rest your body, mind and spirit. This could mean napping, reading a book, pursuing a hobby, or spending time with family. Let the tension fall away, and face the week ahead with renewed spiritual vigor.

2. Evaluate Your Past Week

The end of the week is a great time to look back and see what went right and what went wrong.

This is not just about your work as a minister. Think through your personal life as well. How are you doing with your budget? Are you still on track with your diet and exercise? Did you spend enough time with your family? Without taking a break, you may never have time to do this type of deep analysis.

3. Seek God

A sabbath provides some extra space for drawing closer to God. Linger in prayer. Meditate on Scripture. Quiet your heart before the Lord, and ask Him to reveal His next steps for your life and ministry.

Nothing restores your soul and refocuses your priorities like time in God’s presence.

4. Take Inventory

Now that you’ve looked back, take a look ahead. What big meetings do you have on the horizon? What concerns will you need to address on Monday morning? What long-term goals will you need to start working on?

When you take a moment to look ahead, you set yourself up for success. Overlooking this step can add to your stress in the days ahead. Failing to plan is planning to fail, after all.

As a minister, it’s hard to stop and rest regularly. But without doing so, you are not equipping yourself to be your best. So make time for a sabbath this week — and every week.

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