Spiritual Leadership – Part 2

I believe it’s vital for spiritual leaders to first and foremost develop rhythms of Scripture, Prayer and Reflection in their personal prayer closets. Here we enter holy spaciousness to listen attentively to the fresh movement of the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in a delightful place of silence and solitude. Practicing these means of grace on a regular basis opens us up to a lifestyle of spiritual renewal and transformation.

Equally important to the first priority is the second…to honor and maintain Sabbath as a holy day set apart for rest and reflection, worship and relationships. Sabbath as a day of the week set apart for rest underscores the Sabbath-lifestyle of the spiritual rhythms we seek to embrace throughout our week. Of all the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20), this is the one that God Himself modeled and practiced before us after his first full work week of Creation! After the sixth day of creation He looked back with fondness on all of His work, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array and “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And 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 2:1-3).

God worked hard, he saw that what he had done was very good, and then he rested. Spiritual leaders are invited to embrace that same rhythm: working hard, enjoying the fruit of their labors, and then resting deeply and refreshingly. I recently heard a pastor say “Exhausted Christ followers trying to justify themselves outside of Christ have nothing to offer an exhausted world trying to justify themselves outside of Christ.” I was struck by the power of this comment, especially in light of the essential priority of Sabbath. Without Sabbath rest, we exhaust ourselves working from our own human strength. As a result, we have little to offer the world we live within, which is filled with people working 24×7 in hopes of keeping their heads above water in all aspects of their full to overflowing lives.

Spiritual leaders understand and embrace the joy of Sabbath rest – as a day of the week, and as a lifestyle. Marva Dawn, Mark Buchanan, and others have written about Sabbath. The major movements of Sabbath are as follows: first we cease what we normally do throughout the week, then we rest with the delight of the work we’ve accomplished. Ceasing and resting are complemented by celebrating the life we enjoy in Christ and then embracing the call of God on our lives to continually contribute to building up the Kingdom of God in all areas of life and service. Cease – rest – celebrate – embrace. Sabbath rhythms that are restorative and rejuvenating for the soul.

Will you reconsider your view and treatment of Sabbath rest? Your heart, soul, body, work, church, community, and relationships are crying out for it…be encouraged today to explore this topic further and then watch how your life changes as result. Guaranteed!