What do you consider a waste of time?

It’s worth asking yourself. It’s also very telling when it comes to receiving and experiencing true rest. As a culture, we place great value on our productivity, innovation, and checklists. And while we are beginning to see the value of self-care, we’ve yet to dismiss the 24/7 hustle culture that pervades our workforce. And this has definitely worked its way into our church workforce as well. Staff members are often celebrated and elevated for overworking. This ends up placing a higher value on doing while neglecting rest as God designed. 

As pastors and ministry leaders, you’ve probably heard (or preached yourself) the value of Sabbath, rest, or time with God. But what is your track record of you putting it into practice? When it comes down to it, many people associate Sabbath with a waste of time. We’d never say that aloud. But our actions prove it to be true. You might place a higher value on work over rest by choosing to stay late and finish a project rather than be home on time for dinner. Maybe you see the programs you’re facilitating as a priority over a walk outside by yourself. And if it came down to it, you’d probably feel obligated to go volunteer at a ministry’s carnival over spending time at home to read…because you don’t want to be seen as lazy or selfish! Oh, how we have missed God’s design for how our bodies operate. 

Today, consider the ways you spend your time. Do you allow weekly time for Sabbath rest? True rest? Let’s “waste some time” together, and see how it ends up being the most crucial fuel to your life. Here are three reasons pastors should “waste more time” (and of course, we see it as the opposite of waste in actuality). 

  • God designed you for Sabbath rest

Do we understand the weight of the words we read in Genesis 2:3? If God, the Creator of the Universe and all its inhabitants took time to rest, how much more do we need to follow that rhythm? We read not only what God did with His time, but also the pace He was setting up for us to follow. Incorporating a rhythm of rest, weekly, is a way for us to obey God and also acknowledge with our time that we rely not on our busy pace, work, and to-dos, but on Him alone. It’s an intentional, countercultural practice to set us apart from the way of the world. And God has actually designed it as a pace that gives most life to our bodies, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. 

  • Our relationships grow stronger

It’s interesting to correlate the stats of productivity and busyness alongside the stats of loneliness and disconnect. We live in a world that is busier than ever…and lonelier than ever. As we take time each week to invest in rest, this can work wonders for our relationships. What would a dedicated 24 hours of rest do for your family? What would it do for your marriage? What would it do for your friendships? The answer is, it would grow them stronger than ever. Don’t underestimate the power of cultivating close relationships. When we “don’t have time” for them, we’re only deceiving ourselves and getting lost in the lies of a work pace that leads to loneliness and emptiness. Make that dinner with your kids. Go on that date with your spouse. Plan that coffee date with a friend. God has placed relationships in your life to strengthen you spiritually, and He’ll use them for your good. 

  • It’s an active fight against anxiety

If we are experiencing anxiety (and studies show you likely are), we have blinders on if we think neglecting rest can somehow work in our favor to overcome it. The greatest irony of our cultural work pace is the fact that we’re choosing a method that causes anxiety in an attempt to overcome anxiety. Do you see how this cannot compute? Choosing to follow God’s way of Sabbath rest is an active fight against anxiety–one that actually has a track record of working.

So, pastor…will you waste some time this week? And then next week? Make it a habit to find 24 hours of rest. It’s ok to stop, rest, delight, and worship–apart from your work or duties. Find your rest in God, and see how He redeems the time you thought would be wasted.