Stop Working

By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory: 9 Spiritual Truths for Transformation and Renewal, 2022

I like getting things done. I even have a best-selling book on my office bookshelf entitledGetting Things Done.

And yes, getting things done is important. Didn’t Jesus give us the great commission, which basically tells us to get it done? (Matthew 28:18-20)

Most of the JCG blogs, in fact, are about doing, whether we’re talking about evangelism, vision casting, multiplication, or just taking the next step in cell ministry. Yet, all those things require that a cell member, leader, coach, supervisor, or pastor does something. And this requires energy and exertion.

God, however, felt it was necessary to stop getting things done. He stopped his work of creation on the 7th day and chose to rest (Genesis 2:2). Throughout the Bible, God told his people to stop doing regular work (Leviticus 23:21).God even instituted week-long festivals for his people with an important caveat: do not do any regular work. In the New Testament, Jesus clarifies that the Sabbath Day was made for our benefit and not a set of legalistic rules (Mark 2:27). 

Many pastors, members, supervisors, and leaders neglect their rest days to their own peril. I talked to one pastor in Texas who worked incessantly. He slept little, drank coffee all day, never took a day off or vacations, and ate very poorly. He reminded me of a train speeding down a track without a conductor. He was out of balance.

Balance means ceasing from thinking about multiplication, cell ministry, supervision, and things to do. It means stopping all regular work in order to rest, seek God, and renew your energy. How many of us are willing to cease?

When I’m coaching pastors, one of the first things I ask them is whether they are taking a day off. If the answer is negative, I don’t stop there. I come back to the topic of rest on future occasions. My counsel is the same for church members, although clearing out the schedule can be more challenging.

Are you taking one day per week to rest and cease labor? How about vacations? If not, why not? Do you think that God desires you to be a workhorse all the time? Don’t be one of those leaders who burns out from over-exhaustion.

For the month of June, we will write 15 blogs on the topic of rest. In the last week of this month, we will not post blogs. Click here if you’d like to receive these blogs in your email inbox. We’ll cover:

  • June 05-11: Scriptural basis for rest, along with the dangers of burn-out. We’ll talk about the Scriptural basis for taking a day off.
  • June 12-18: Finding time to take a day off. Most people are not full-time in ministry. They have full-time jobs, family, and so forth. How do cell leaders, cell members, and the rest of the church find time to take a day off in the midst of busy schedules?
  • June 19-26: Resting in the pastorate. Those who are full-time or part-time in the pastorate (or even those self-employed) can more easily schedule a full day off. But many are not doing so? Let’s explore the importance of resting one day and what that looks like.