I absolutely love summer! Beaches, ice cream, long days, fireworks, vacations, and hot temperatures all point towards a relaxing couple of months. Summer, in my opinion, is the “unofficial” rest season. It is a season for Sabbath and restoration—especially for those in ministry. We spend all fall, winter, and spring going full speed working, serving, discipling, mobilizing, reaching, and pouring into others. Our callings—in addition to all these things—take lots of energy and time. By the time summer hits, many of us are running on empty. But—glory, glory, and praise the Lord— God created summer!
Summer is a time to slow down, refuel, refocus, and refresh. God created seasons for a reason; it just seems very natural that summer was designed to refresh and restore. Think about it: When we ponder on summer, it often invokes a desire to rest, regroup, restore, refocus, refresh, etc.
God created us to have rhythms. We need a healthy pace of work and Sabbath to thrive. Just as God created us to work, God also asks people to rest periodically from their labor. I do believe that work allows people to partner with God in His purposes for creation, while rest will enable us to enter into communion and trust with God in the enjoyment of creation.
“On the seventhday God had completed his work that he had done, and he restedon the seventh day from all his work that he had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation” (Genesis 2:2-3).
God designed us to need rest. He created the rhythms of the seasons to help life grow and thrive. The summer is the season for rest and growth. The need for rest allows us the reminder that we are dependent on Him for growth and life. We need Him to provide when we rest, to maintain relationships when we have to reprioritize or take a step back, and so on. Taking rest always beckons us to trust that the Lord is in control. Now, I will be the first to admit that there are times when I struggle with taking a sabbath. Especially as a minister, it is hard to disconnect and trust that if I walk away, things will still happen. But, the Good Shepherd wants to lead us beside quiet waters and refresh our souls.
As Christ-followers, it is vital for us to set the example of taking time to rest, to be present with Jesus, family, and friends, to refocus and rest in God’s presence. Summer allows for us to do so! For us to take time this summer—on purpose—to Sabbath is to trust the Lord. He makes us lie down in green pastures and restores our souls.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
My challenge is for Christ-followers—especially those of us in ministry—to spend time resting this summer on purpose. So, whatever rest looks like to you, I hope you rest well this summer and restore your soul.
Sarah Farley is a campus minister at the University of Georgia. She loves talking about Jesus, SEC football, eating burgers, and drinking coffee with students.