Reading List for Rest

This weekend I began watching the riveting series called, “The Chosen.”   Focusing on the life of Christ, the series gives insight into the individual lives of those who followed Jesus.  Starting with Mary Magdalene, each story provides a compelling introduction to the disciples.  I have been fastened to every episode.  Episode two is called “Shabbat.”  This is the Hebrew word for Sabbath.  The episode shows Sabbath preparation from the newest disciple to the most influential Pharisee. 

As I watched the episode, I found myself lost in meditation about the Sabbath, the principle of setting aside an entire day for rest, reflection, and refocusing on family and God.  While I have no intention of starting a theological discussion on the Sabbath, nor am I willing to propose a pharisaical view of the Sabbath, I am interested in this pre-law principle that God established in the week of Creation.  I doubt any of you would disagree with the value of rest, worship, or family.  I doubt even more that any of you would disagree that Americans are typically overworked, overstressed, and under satisfied.  

So, I have been reading a lot on the principle of rest and Sabbath.  Some of these are current reads and some of them I have read before.  All are very good. 

  1. The Rest of God - Mark Buchanan

The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan is a discussion of the Sabbath focusing on practical advice on restoring the Sabbath in our personal lives.  

2. 24/6 - Matthew Sleeth

Love the title!  Matthew Sleeth is a medical doctor and a committed believer.  So, this is a powerful combination of the physical and spiritual blessings of Sabbath. 

3. Margin - Richard Swenson

This is one of the all time great books on rest.  Our schedules are packed to the max!  We have little time for “interruptions.”  Sadly, those interruptions are what life is mostly made of and the source of life’s greatest joys. 

4. Reset - David Murray

Listen to this quote from the introduction, “Some 225 million workdays are lost every year in the United States due to stress; that’s nearly a million people not working every day.  The data on pastors is especially worrying, with high levels of stress, depression, and burnout leading to broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, broken marriages, and broken churches.  Burnout is responsible for 20 percent of all pastoral resignations.”  

Yeah.  You probably identify.  Go ahead and read this one. 

5. Leading on Empty - Wayne Cordeiro

At one particular season in my life, I found myself totally overwhelmed.  We had just added our second child to the family.  I was teaching 17 credit hours in college, preaching over 300 sermons per year, laboring to complete a Master of Divinity degree, and failing in my personal life.   God used this book to help me pull it back together.  

The coronavirus has forced us to rest.  If we ever get back to “normal,” I hope “normal” does not include returning to our frantic pace while neglecting God and our families.

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