i have been blessed, challenged, encouraged, and stretched in many ways in my new ministry position. i am grateful to serve alongside a supervisor/friend that gets ministry and me! she gently guides, patiently listens (bless her heart), thoughtfully instructs, holds me accountable, and personally prays for and with me! i am a recipient of her many gifts of leadership and am grateful. then, she took it to the next level with the gift of sabbath.
i am not surprising anyone in service when i say how emotionally exhausting and spiritually depleting ministry can be. maybe she saw that on our faces as we sat in an ed staff meeting on the edge of summer with to-do lists a mile long. my idea of help would have been an effective way to get more done or at least three more paid assistants. i was so wrong. instead of talking new methods, more people, and longer hours, we were challenged with the ironic response of rest! we were taught from and gifted with a copy of 24/6 written by matthew sleuth, md. that would have been plenty, but then we were handed an accountability card that required action on our part. for the three months of summer, busy months in kidmin, we were to pick one work day a month for a personal sabbath. we were instructed to not schedule anything on that day except for time with Jesus. no meetings, no “work”, no email, and no office time until late in the afternoon. best. gift. ever.
my days of sabbath have challenged me to slow down, sit, and just be with Jesus instead of constantly “doing” for Him. i experienced extended quiet and prayer times. i literally stopped and smelled the flowers (hydrangeas, my favorite). sermon downloads were listened to and Bible study times were unhurried. i knew i appreciated this time, but not until my last scheduled sabbath was interrupted by unforeseeable circumstances did i know how greatly these days ministered to me. my three month challenged will now be extended to year round so that i can truly be the Christ-centered leader i am called to be.
i don’t know where this blog post finds you. if you are in ministry i can only imagine how weary, stretched, or worn you may be. maybe, just maybe, it is time to stop doing and begin stopping. the thing your heart may need most is not more trying, but sweet sabbath rest.
*i would love to hear about your personal sabbath experiences.