What does it mean to rest?


QuietWaters Compass Online

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A Digital Help Toward Renewal from QuietWaters Ministries

Volume 9, Number 11 November 2009
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I’ve shared with you in this publication that we had made an offer on a “place” for a new retreat.  The offer was accepted and we will close on November 24.  Please pray that everything will go well.  I’ll be sending you a full announcement with details in a forthcoming issue.



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What does it mean to rest?

by Jim Schlottman

An article in the New York Times read, “In an age of job hopping, a perk to reward loyalty-sabbaticals for those with five years or more on the job-is taking on increased importance.”

“Though the academic world initiated sabbatical programs, they have been embraced by the government and the private sector, including companies as varied as McDonald’s, Nike, Boston Consulting, Goldman Sachs and Silicon Graphics as well as law and accounting firms. Some companies restrict time off to educational forays and charitable projects, while others encourage everything from beachcombing, family time and travel.”

As a pastor you know that the concept of the sabbatical goes back to the Hebrew verb shabbath, meaning “to rest from labour,” the day of rest.  Out of the sabbatical came the sabbatical year.

“But in the 7th year thou shalt let it rest” (literally, “thou shalt release it”) implying that the land was entitled to a rest because it needed it; it must be released for a time in order to gain fresh strength and ensure its future fertility.  Leviticus 25:4 (KJV)

It is interesting to note that in the description of the Sabbatical Year, Easton’s Bible Dictionary makes the statement, “There is little notice of the observance of this year in Biblical history. It appears to have been much neglected.”  

That is a little like all of us who make little notice of the observation of Sabbath when it comes to what we do on Sunday.  But that is for another issue.

I’m writing to you about Sabbath because you are beginning one of the busiest times of the year for pastors.  In the last issue I suggested that you take a little time to refresh yourself both physically and spiritually.  Now if you’re honest with me, you’ll admit that you didn’t take my advice.  So knowing that would be the case I’m suggesting that after all the dust settles and the New Year has begun that you take a little rest.

I’m sure you’ve forgotten the verse in Hebrews that says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:9-11 (NIV)

That charge couldn’t be any clearer-anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his (her) own work.  And you didn’t think you had the Biblical right to rest.  While there it is in black and white.  Make every effort to enter that rest.

When pastors come to us burned out it is obvious that they have not adhered to that direction from the Bible.  They have not “entered that rest,” and as the verse goes on to say the reason for this charge is “so that no one will fall.”  Not resting is disobedience.

If you disobey and don’t rest, QuietWaters will be here to help you be renewed, restored, and strengthened.  However, I would prefer to have you rest.


We are seeing more and more pastors coming for a QuietWaters Leadership Counseling Intensive as part of their sabbatical.  They have reported that time with one of our counselors gave them better direction for their sabbatical.  The spouses have suggested that a couple of weeks of rest should be taken before heading out on a sabbatical.
I’m interested to know how many of you took a sabbatical this year.  How many of you are planning a sabbatical in the next couple of years?
I’m often asked what a pastor should do as part of their sabbatical.  So I would appreciate hearing about some experiences you’ve had.

If you want you can give me a call to talk about your experiences.  Just call Jim at 866-5-waters (866-592-8377) or you can send me an email at [email protected].  Either way I really would like to hear from you.

We continue to seek new members for our Prayer Team.
If you are interested in joining the Team, please contact Jim Schlottman at [email protected] or call him at 866-5-Waters (866-592-8377).
The QuietWaters Compass Online is published monthly as a free service of QuietWaters Ministries, whose mission is to renew, restore, and strengthen Christian leaders and their families. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of QuietWaters Ministries, its personnel or trustees. Material contained in this publication is not intended as a substitute for the professional assistance you can receive from a counselor, or health care provider. Requests for permission to reprint articles should be directed to the editor at the address below.
James L. Schlottman
QuietWaters Ministries
(303) 639-9066
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QuietWaters Ministries
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What does it mean to rest?
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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.


Psalm 23:1-3

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