As soon as we entered lockdown, church leaders had to begin thinking about changing almost everything, as multiple departments closed, public settings shut down and most endured the huge discovery curve of taking many ministries, groups and services online. Adrenaline pumped and it was actually a tad exciting (apart from those touched by grief or real anxiety in the moment).

But months into the pandemic the adrenaline had subsided and, for some, fatigue or even exhaustion, has visited your life. That is normal and even to be expected. But it also has certain dangers that we must avoid.

You see, fatigued me just wants life to go back to normal! Fatigued me is so tired of making decisions with so few proven reference points. Everything is new! It’s draining. Fatigue will cause you to be irritated at your team, rush decisions, dictate decisions just to get things over with, or even freeze and procrastinate, unable to make a decision at all. Oh, I’ve been there, with or without a pandemic!

But refreshed you will be able to flex with the new season. Your mind will be willing to percolate new information, your emotions will be energised enough to care for your team, your body will get you out of bed, ready to face another day of new opportunities. For most of us, when we are rested we are optimists, when we’re exhausted, we’re pessimists. You need to give your church and team a rested you.

This year I have discovered a weekly sabbath like never before. For me it’s day to switch off the phone, do no work or DIY, and cease from even the thought of work or ministry. A day purely for gratefulness, family, resting in God, making room for joyful pleasures and having fun together.

It’s not meant to be a day of cranky religious observance, but instead a day gifted to you since creation as a holy time of replenishment, restoration, reflection and refreshing. The very first thing God made holy in the Bible was a 24-hour period every seven days, as a gift of respite to you, and even science has shown, you are wired in sinew and soul to function best when you embrace it.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Genesis 2:2-3

Resting for a weekly Sabbath is one of the 10 commandments, and while some would say we are no longer under Law, I would reply “Which of the other 9 are you happy to break then? Murder, adultery, stealing, lying perhaps?” You wouldn’t dream of breaking the other 9 commandments, so why this one? We might consider rest as optional, but God considers it a “Top 10 Priority”! It is of course lazy theology to simply discard the Sabbath as a mere throw-back from the Old Testament, as if it were some obscure Pharisaical detail.

While I don’t think it has to be a Saturday, or even Sunday, you do need to rest weekly, or else it may be a sign that something idolatrous is at work in your life. A striving to achieve, a consumerist hankering for more, a longing for approval, or even a fear of missing out. Some dread the very sound of their own souls and use busyness to mask the unhappiness within. But the godly know how to embrace silence, solitude and the joy of Sabbath.

Jesus put it this way:

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for Sabbath”

Mark 2:27

John Mark Comer pens it beautifully in his outstanding book “Garden City: Work, Rest and the Art of Being Human”:

“That’s why Sabbath is an expression of faith. Faith that there is a Creator and he’s good. We are his creation. This is his world. We live under his roof, drink his water, eat his food, breathe his oxygen. So on the Sabbath, we don’t just take a day off from work; we take a day off from toil. We give him all our fear and anxiety and stress and worry. We let go. We stop ruling and subduing, and we just be. We “remember” our place in the universe. So that we never forget . . . There is a God, and I’m not him.”

God is offering you the incredible gift of trusting Him so completely that you can cease from work completely for a whole day a week. It is a weapon. It is a sign of inner health. It is not a second class use of your time. And it also seems to be one of the major prophetic words to Church leaders globally in this season. So don’t ignore it. Make sure you’re rested. A rested leader is a better leader whose mind will be refreshed enough to perceive a new day.

An extract from Jarrod’s 2021 book “The Divine Reset” available here

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