“Sabbath.” For many years, I interpreted “Sabbath rest” to mean ceasing from “my works” in order to focus on doing “the Lord’s work.” Frankly, there has not been much about it that I have experienced as restful. In fact, on the contrary, His work has kept me quite busy!
I’m not a guy who likes to sit still. When I met Jesus at the age of 21 in Spain, I jumped right into the work of ministry and the bivocational call I believed God had given me. When my wife and I arrived in France in 1994, we had three children under age 5. I was a “tent maker” at the time, as there were no Foursquare works in the region.
Within the first five years, I finished a Ph.D. program, taught full time, started a business, planted our first Foursquare church, and we added a fourth child to the mix. Sabbath was only an elusive concept in those days. Wasn’t I supposed to be always available to God, to help accomplish His purposes for the Francophone nations?
God’s mission has indeed accomplished great things through the years. Today, we have over 70 local works in France, thousands of churches in Nigeria and the French-speaking countries across Africa, and even a business in Ghana. I’m so amazed and thankful that God has moved mightily in these regions, and I’m privileged to have the opportunity to continue to join Him in His good works.
Though I’ve sensed God stirring in my heart this concept of Sabbath rest, I’ve always wrestled a bit with the idea of just “being,” thinking of it as something lesser than “doing.” When COVID-19 arrived with its international lockdowns, life as we knew it came to a halt. I get energized by doing, so the thought of doing nothing has never had much appeal to me. Yet here I was, quarantined in my house for months with nowhere to go. Talk about being confronted face-to-face with the idea of Sabbath!
“I’m still a guy who loves doing. But I am learning how to say no and trust that God can and will get as much done with or without my constant help.” —Dan Lucero
Until then, I don’t think I had any way of measuring how far away from Sabbath rest I had drifted. For me, the experience has been like having the airplane of my life hit a dead spot in the sky. When planes encounter dead spots, they can drop in a free fall for thousands of feet in just a few seconds. That’s what quarantining felt like for me; it’s as if the bottom of my life fell out temporarily.
Thankfully, God reminded me that He is my seatbelt. Still in control, He’s been teaching me what Sabbath looks like on a practical level.
In the past year, working in the discipline of Sabbath rest has settled my spirit as I’m discovering solace in literally doing nothing. I’m not doing this perfectly, and some days it’s a bumpy ride, but the “flight” is getting easier. I’m finding stability. I’ve finally discovered firsthand what Jesus meant when He said the “Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27, NKJV).
I need Sabbath rest for a couple of important reasons.
- It’s good for my mind and body. In a physical sense, I’m able to recharge and refresh.
- It’s also good for my heart. It keeps me in a posture of letting go and trusting Him; to believe that He can still accomplish His purposes without me—imagine that!
- What’s more, He’s shown me that the work of the Great Commission still goes forth, and in ways that are even better than I could dream of. Seeing this has both humbled me and increased my faith.
I’m still a guy who loves doing. But I am learning how to say no and trust that God can and will get as much done with or without my constant help.
My adrenaline levels have decreased, and I’m a healthier man today because of Sabbath rest. Praise the Lord, the Great Commission never ceases even when we do!