If we were habitually breaking one of the 10 Commandments, do you think anybody would mention it? How about the 4th commandment?

Recently, I was at an event with Peter Scazzero and he told the story of how his staff confronted one of their pastoral colleagues about working too much. Time and time again, they told him he had to take off a full Sabbath day. Eventually, because he was habitually breaking the fourth commandment, they had to let him go.

I’m afraid too often the way we live makes it seem as if there are only nine commandments. I think obeying the 4th commandment seems to be a special challenge for pastors. Not only do they work on “Sunday,” but theirs is a profession which seems to be uniquely busy.

One of the nation’s leading researchers on the nature of different professions had this to say about the work of the pastorate:

“The breadth of tasks performed by local church pastors coupled with the rapid switching between task clusters and roles in this position is unique. I have never encountered such a fast-paced job with such varied and impactful responsibilities.” Richard DeShon, Michigan State University

Of course, God built the remedy to these challenges into his prescription for thriving… the Sabbath. There is probably no better way to inoculate oneself from workaholism and to help ensure a thriving life and thriving ministry than to experience Sabbath living.

To encourage all of us to experience God’s intended gift of the Sabbath, we are promoting a theme of “Reclaim Sabbath” throughout this year for our clergy.  This isn’t a program or another expectation on our lives, but just a simple reminder of what God has intended for us and ways that we can indeed receive the blessing of this gift from God.

To help us all “Reclaim Sabbath,” Dave Higle is working with our Clergy Care Partners and District Clergy Care Coordinators to curate quality resources and experiences that prod us toward experiencing Sabbath living. Click Reclaim Sabbath to view these resources.

So this year, let’s together #ReclaimSabbath, God’s beautiful gift to us all.


Russ Gunsalus

Director, Education & Clergy Development

  • Documents (.pdf)