Our pastor shared on Sunday that he’s taking a sabbatical. After fifteen years at the pulpit, he and his wife believe it’s time for a few months of much needed rest. There are some who’d disagree with this decision.
“Take a sabbatical? Really?” “Pastors don’t take time off.”
Why not? God did.
I’ll admit, when I heard the announcement I smiled to myself and thought, I love this. Good for them. Everyone needs a little rest. He was preaching to the choir. I wrote the book about taking a “radical sabbatical” remember?
For the life of me I don’t understand why our world has us convinced the busier we are the more productive we are—the more valuable we are. It’s a lie, plain and simple. My favorite acronym for busy is burdened under Satan’s yoke. Don’t be tricked by the bondage of busyness. You and I both need to be still and rest. We’ve been wired that way.
God’s creatures take rest to a whole new level by hibernating each year. Most of us think of bears when we think of hibernation, yet bears aren’t considered ‘true hibernators’ since they birth their babies and care for them during the winter months. Badgers, opossums, groundhogs, wasps, rodents, bats, turtles and some fish species hibernate. They retreat and lie dormant, their heart rate and metabolism slowing to a snail’s pace, readying them for another year.
God calls us to take a Sabbath rest every week. It’s not a kind suggestion, it’s a command from our King. So, if he commands us to Sabbath rest weekly, then maybe an extended sabbatical rest is like experiencing a holy hibernation.
Too often, we look at taking time off or being still as a sign of laziness or being unproductive. The truth is, we were made to do great things for His glory. We can’t accomplish His plans for our life without rest. Rest strengthens us for the holy job ahead.
Are you a mom? Do you desire to raise your children into responsible, independent, God honoring adults? That’s quite a task. It’s a lifetime occupation that takes daily rest. Beth Moore says, “No one can do a thousand things to the glory of God.” Being busy day in and day out robs us of the godly rest we were created to enjoy and steals anointed opportunities to be on our ‘A’ game. What example are you giving your children if you never rest?
I love what God says about rest in Psalm 23: 1-3
The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
Did you get that line back there? He makes me lie down.
What will it take to make you lie down? Will you be obedient and do it without being forced to? The Hebrew word used for “makes me lie down” is rabats which means to recline or stretch out. How cool is that? Why in the world would I fight the opportunity to recline and stretch out? Yet, so often I do. So many times I’ve been focused on something and overstimulated by my own “busy”. It’s these times where He has made me lie down—given me a holy time-out. I try to meet God now before he makes me. I have come to love to experience His “still”. I hunger and desire for His “refresh” and His “restore”.
What a blessed example my pastor is. He is taking a sabbatical rest before God makes him. I am grateful he is leading his church in a posture of refreshment. He is modeling holy hibernation so he can come back stronger for the God ordained tasks ahead. I can’t wait to sit under his teaching when he returns. I anticipate great things.
Do you model Sabbath rest for your kids? Or, are you running a million miles an hour each day? Don’t be discouraged by the captivity of activity. God gives you permission to rest. Why don’t you take Him up on it?