Living faithful, fruitful and fulfilled on the mission field
June 15, 2018
Sabbath Benefits & How to Train Your Team to Take One
In last week’s blog, “Why Sabbath Needs to Be One of Our Spiritual Disciplines“, we discussed how Sabbath is a crucial habit if we want to live faithful, fruitful and fulfilled lives on the mission field. It is so easy to make Sabbath a low priority though! You may be convinced it’s a good thing. But do you embrace it’s value enough to create the boundaries necessary to make Sabbath work? Sabbath benefits are many! It is worth the effort. Let’s not only begin this new habit but also train those we lead to do the same.
“I’ll Rest In Heaven”
I thought to myself, “Sabbath is a good practice. I just don’t have time to take one! Maybe a half a day off is good enough.”
Though convinced in my mind about Sabbath, it so often took a “back row seat” to other priorities. My beliefs weren’t matching my behavior. I was hindered by a nagging feeling that it was slightly lazy to do nothing for a whole day!
As I was thinking these things, I discussed Sabbath with one of our Nepali church planters. He was in his 30’s and very passionate to reach the unreached. I brought up the importance of Sabbath. When I asked if he took a regular day to rest, he said, “I can rest when I get to Heaven, right now I want to serve God! I’m in the time of life when I can work hard. There are so many villages yet to reach.”
“Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” Hebrews 4:1- NIV
I realized I needed to make a greater effort to apply the principle of Sabbath in my life. I knew that he and other church planters were watching me. Not only were they observing my passion for the lost, but they watched the model I gave in this area of life too. Did I obey God in taking a Sabbath rest each week? Were they seeing a leader who ministered from rest? Who understood how to depend on God fully?
God would not have given us a command to observe the Sabbath if it wasn’t something we needed! He knows how great the benefits are to our lives and ministries. It’s up to us though whether we take this command seriously and apply it in our lives.
4 Benefits to Taking Sabbath
1. Taking a Sabbath grows our humility, trust, and dependence on God.
It is easy to think that the world is going to fall apart if we stop working. It won’t! Others will step up and cover for us. It is good to realize that God handles the work, not us. We are not as important as we sometimes think! We can stop and rest. God will continue (while we are resting) to work in people’s lives.
2. It refreshes our soul and spirit. This increases our fruitfulness.
The other six days of the week are much more productive when we have taken a Sabbath. Our souls are renewed as we do things we enjoy. Our bodies are refreshed when we take an extra nap and eat good food. Listening online to a good sermon, or taking time to read a book can feed your spirit. Even watching a good movie can be relaxing. After resting, we are re-energized to work again.
3. Sabbath creates space for us to hear from God. It helps the clutter in our minds to clear.
When we take a Sabbath day, or a bit longer break like a retreat, we are more able to hear God’s voice. We don’t listen very well when exhausted and busy. When we are on the run, we’re usually thinking about the next urgent need on our doorstep. By taking a day to rest, our minds and hearts clear and we can see the big picture. Often, solutions and new ideas rise to the surface in our minds and hearts.
4. Our family life is strengthened.
Ministry puts a lot of pressure on marriages and families. Over time, the constant demands of pastoral care, problem-solving and crisis situations take their toll. Taking a Sabbath gives you space to play with your kids, or simply listen to them. It gives time for romance and intimacy with your spouse as well. The long-term benefits of this practice on your marriage and kids are huge!
How To Influence Others To Take Sabbath Too
The greatest way you can influence others is by practicing Sabbath yourself. As you model it, take time to do a Bible study with your team on what the Bible says about Sabbath. Talk to them about Sabbath benefits. Share with them what you are doing to rest. Be public about it. For example, share pictures on Facebook or WhatsApp of your family having a picnic together. Make sure that the model you give is not just of a leader who works, works, works. Show them a leader who also knows how to rest, relax, enjoy Kingdom life and their family. Let them see someone who can set and maintain healthy boundaries. This will have a huge impact on those you disciple.
Be sure that you respect your staff’s Sabbath as well. Don’t teach them about Sabbath, then ask them to do something on the day they set aside for rest. Honor them and encourage this discipline. They will be grateful. They will also produce more lasting fruit if they learn to minister from rest, instead of exhaustion.
Take Steps to Take Sabbath and Train Others Also
You’ve seen the Sabbath benefits. Now, it’s time to take action. What will you do to start practicing a regular sabbath? How will you teach your disciples or team about this important spiritual discipline?
Still have questions? Have thoughts about Sabbath you’d like to share? Let’s discuss this in the Missionary Life Facebook page!
Want to read more about Sabbath? Here are some helpful resources.
Choose the best language learning method for you! We all have different situations and personalities. This FREE E-book describes four of the main ways to learn a language. It then lists the advantages and disadvantages of each. Put your efforts in the right place!
Awesome! Please check your email to download your FREE ebook.