Last fall, I took my first sabbatical in 15 years of ministry. Initially, I had no idea what to do. So I called a pastor friend and asked how I could be productive during the time off.
Ironic. A productive sabbatical! Obviously, if I was trying to make rest productive, I had a very practical problem with the whole idea of sabbatical.
I had spent my entire pastorate working six-day, eighty-hour weeks. I had no category for rest. . . until the Lord led me to Hebrews 4:10—
For whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did.
As I read this familiar passage, I thought, “Christianity is more like a day off than a day at the office.”
Then came another insight—from Jack Miller to a Ugandan missionary:
“[M]ake sure you are enjoying yourself and not taking your work too seriously. You don’t have anything to prove to us or the world. The work is finished at Calvary, and that work alone has unlimited meaning and value. Keep your focus there.
Here was my problem: I was living as if Christianity was a day at the office. Instead of hearing Jesus say “It is finished” and putting all my “doing” down, I was looking to my work as my salvation. But with a renewed realization of the gospel of grace—that Christianity is a day off—I was able to turn from my subtle works-righteousness to rest in Christ.
Bob Glenn is Pastor of Preaching and Leadership Development at Redeemer Bible Church in Minnetonka, MN. He is married to Gayle and they have three children: Noah, Zoë, and Joy.