Pastor: Take a Sabbath Each Week

By Rick Warren

Sleeping CoupleGod considers the Sabbath to be so serious that he put it right up there in the Big Ten. In fact, before he tells us not to commit adultery and not to commit murder, he tells us to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.

The Sabbath doesn’t mean we take a day off in order to run a bunch of errands. God wants us to take one day of real rest once a week. If you simply call it a day off, you’ll be tempted to cheat on it or to work through it. If you call it the Sabbath, which it is, then you are more likely to keep it; otherwise, you will be breaking one of the Ten Commandments.

We may say, ‘I would never commit adultery.’ ‘I would never murder anybody.’ But we will skip Sabbath lots of times. We work right through the weekend. Some of us try to cram more into the weekend than we do during the week. But, God says you’ve got to take time off. God commands that you take a Sabbath. It is a day to rest your body, recharge your emotions, and renew your spirit by focusing on God.

Since we work on Sundays, providing ministry to others, we need to take our Sabbath sometime during the week. I take my Sabbath on Mondays. Every Monday, I’m just not available to the world. I know this is hard to do for a pastor, but it is critical to your ministry.

Think about this: A church member criticized his pastor for not being unavailable on the day the pastor took his Sabbath. The member complained he needed to speak with the pastor but couldn’t get through to him, even though he called the church office several times.

The pastor said, “Sorry, but that’s my Sabbath, the day I take off to rest and re-focus on God.”  The church member said, “The devil doesn’t take a day off.”  And the pastor said, “You’re right. And if I didn’t, I’d be just like the devil.”

Satan is not our model for balanced living. Jesus is our model. If Satan wants to work twenty-four hours a day and burn out, that’s fine with me. But we need one day each week dedicated to rest and renewal.

Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.