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.