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Seeds of the Kingdom

God’s Remedy for Stress and Burnout

by Liz Griffin

13 February 2009

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Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Exodus 20:8, NKJV

Do you know Christians who suffer from stress and burnout? Maybe you are one. Many have feelings of guilt when they relax; always thinking they haven’t done enough for God. I once did a study on God’s 4th commandment with some Christian leaders.

Some of them shared that they had a reaction in their mind against the harsh restrictions they had to endure in childhood on Sunday. They believed that now, as mature believers, they were free to do anything they liked on Sunday, because in Jesus we are free from the Law. They went to church in the morning, but the rest of the day was an opportunity to catch up with work and household chores - not very different from the rest of the week - especially in these days of laptops.

When we looked more deeply into God’s word, a very different picture emerged. The Sabbath was God’s idea for us - a means of refreshing ourselves, of play and enjoyment. Jesus said The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath is a day of rest. The Sabbath is God’s gracious provision for us.’

The ‘one day in seven’ pattern was established for the whole of Jewish society including foreigners, slaves and livestock. To this day businesses and shops are shut on the Sabbath day in Israel. The Jewish tradition of Sabbath puts an emphasis on celebration, with beautiful table decorations, candles, special food, and the best tableware. It is a ‘holy holiday’, and a quality family time.

Dale and Juanita Ryan wrote in ‘Rooted in God’s Love’, ‘It will take some creativity and discipline for us to find ways of keeping the Sabbath that work for us. But that’s what God wants. God wants the Sabbath to be ‘for’ us.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to use the provision of a Sabbath rest to be restored in you, that I may not be burnt out by ignoring the provision you have made for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Liz Griffin lived for 20 years as an expatriate in South Africa, Bahrain and Japan, as her husband Paul worked for an international oil company. Paul and Liz became involved with Ellel Ministries in 1991 as part of the ministry team and joined the full-time team at Ellel Grange in 1995. Paul and Liz teach and minister to those seeking healing in their lives and together have written two books, 'Anger - How Do You Handle It' and 'Hope and Healing For The Abused'.

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