God rested (Gen. 2:1-2). Rest is important.
Israel was commanded to rest one day a week (Lev. 23:3). God’s rest is our model.
The land was to get a rest every 50th year (Lev. 25:8-13). Rest is important.
Most of us don’t truly rest—enough. To put it another way. We disobey God, and no, we are not Israel, but the principle of one day of rest a week is still a goof process for human flourishing but also, to honor God.
For many years, I took Friday as my “day of rest.” Unfortunately, even though I was not working, I usually wasn’t resting, not really. I might have been gardening, which sometimes is restful but sometimes it is work of a different kind. I might have been traveling somewhere to work the next day, but that is not really resting either. Certainly, it wasn’t like the rest that was prescribed for the Jews under the Law of Moses. Sometimes my Fridays turned into a something else, maybe it was “emergency ministry” but it was anything but restful. And I get that and sometimes, in a fallen world, there is nothing wrong with that. But eventually, the burden of those times, those non-restful times catch up to you because God has designed us (pastors and other humans too) for rhythms of rest.
This past week I was with 3 others mentors working to give 14 pastors a three day rest from the burdens of ministry and a chance to reset their spirits and passion for ministry. Pastor Greg Surratt is one of the leaders behind the genius project of the “Retreat at Church Creek.” And it was he who shared the following recommendations for pastors and the issue of “rest.”
Three Levels of Resting Well (Greg says that he got these three from Rick Warren)
Divest Daily. Do something everyday that restores or relaxes you.
Withdraw weekly into His presence. Turn off your cell phone, get out into nature, connect with God and His word for yourself rather than for ministry.
Abandon annually. A restful vacation is not a luxury, it is a necessity for a healthy and long ministry life.
It’s a good model not just for pastors. It’s a good model for all of us.
Pray for the pastors I am caring for. They need rest.