The Lost Art of the Sabbatical Rest Series 1

Making The Case For Sabbath Rest (Part 1 of 3)

 Blog entry written by both Jim and Sterling O’Neill

About Dr. Jim O’Neill: Husband of Sterling O’Neill.  Been married now almost 37 years. Degrees in Pastoral, Missiology and Anthropology. Served in the Philippines for 13 years and in missions work for over 36 years. Leader, Speaker, and Author of “Teaming up with God: Theology of Pre-Evangelism”.

” Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest… (Matthew 11:28)


Why did it take us, so long to pursue a sabbath rest for our own souls? We love the Lord and we love ministry but we had definite seasons where we were serving on empty in our spiritual tank. We did not grow up in a ministry context where we valued rest for the soul.

After one busy ministry season one pastor graciously asked, “Have you taken time to rest?  

Sure,” we said, “We take times off for dates,vacations, extra study and think tank times. We think we do pretty good in these areas. It just has been a busy season. ”  

He said “How about times where you are unplugging from your computer or cell phones?”

Ouch! “Noooo! Not really. Great question!” Guilty!

Wayne Muller in his book “Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and delight in our busy lives”  Product Detailsimmerses us in the sacred tradition of the shabbat (the day of rest) tradition. “A day of rest, that is all but forgotten in an age where consumption, speed, and productivity have become the most valued human commodities.” He invites us to drink from this “fountain of rest and delight. Sabbath asks us to remember this most simple and gracious of all spiritual practices.”

Muller offers practices and exercises that reflect the sabbath as recognized in Christianity, and many religious traditions. Aspects as followers of Jesus we can learn and glean from as we live out our relationship with Jesus today. Through this way of nourishment and repose, he teaches, “welcome insights and blessings that arise only with stillness and time.” The book is rich with meditations, poems, and inspiring true stories.

One year ago last April 2016, we transitioned ministries and while repositioning ourselves toward future work, the thought occurred to us the need to take time off and rest our souls. Thus began our seasonal commitment to pursuing a sabbath rest. We do not mean a vacation or study week, which are most useful within themselves, but what we do mean is setting aside time, in our case, at least 2 weeks a year to allow the soul to rest. We just completed our second Sabbatical. 

Stay tune for Part 2 of “The Lost Art of the Sabbatical” series “5 Practices To Jump Start Your Sabbath”

Personal reflection:What is your response to Muller’s thoughts on three values, “consumption, speed and productivity” as “becoming the most valued human commodities”? What cultural values drive your life? What do you think about a sabbath rest? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment section “Making The Case For Sabbath Rest (Part 1)” 

From One Pilgrim to another together on the journey,

”Consider how you may spur one another on towards love and good deeds….. encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

“ Intentionally journaling alongside of mission minded women in order to encourage them to see God in their story, moving them closer to Jesus, and to discover their place in God’s Kingdom so God will be worshipped among the nations” 

Please Reply in a gracious manner

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2 thoughts on “The Lost Art of the Sabbatical Rest Series 1

  1. Sabbath rest is essential for the soul and spirit, and for the physical body, it’s how our Creator designed us, and instituted the Sabbat/Shabbat on the Seventh day, as well as giving us HIS Feasts/ Sabbaths in the spring and in the fall, a seven day/eight day rest two times a year! HIS Sabbaths are prophetic as well.

    • Pam thank you for your comments. Something to seriously consider because if we don’t heed God’s Word for a Sabbatical Rest we will have repercussions. Jim and I are practicing it more now and hope to encourage others along life’s journey to engage in it too. How do you practice the week long rests during the year?