Be Strong and Rest!

By Dr. Chris Williamson

Once I announced to the body of Strong Tower Bible Church on Sunday, October 25, 2015 that I am taking a sabbatical, I have been asked two questions: 1) How can we pray for you during your sabbatical? and 2) How long will your sabbatical last?
When it comes to praying for me during my sabbatical, please pray that I will “Be Strong and Rest!” I also know that you will pray for me as the Spirit leads, but if you need some specifics you can pray for:

  1. My family’s wellbeing– Psalm 128:3, “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.”
  2. My health and soul to prosper– III John 2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
  3. My ability to sleep– Psalm 127:2, “For so He gives His beloved sleep.”
  4. My emotional wellbeing– James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
  5. My joy– Nehemiah 8:10, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
  6. My preaching– Ephesians 6:19-20, “And [pray] for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

We cannot forget that resting is an act of worship. God is glorified when we lie down and trust Him to protect and provide for us. And when it comes to leading the local church, pastors need to be reminded through resting that the church is the Lord’s and not theirs. It is God, and not the pastor, who ultimately leads, feeds, guides, and provides for His people. It is a relief to me whenever I consider that Jesus said, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
By stepping away to rest periodically, pastors demonstrate whom the ultimate builder, only owner, and primary shepherd of the church is, and it reminds the people to look more to the Lord Jesus than to the pastor. Like the Apostle Peter, today’s pastors and church leaders are merely participants in the church building process with Jesus; it is not dependent upon us.
So as it pertains to when I will return from my sabbatical, if the Lord wills (James 4:15), it will be on Sunday January 3, 2016. Please know that I will miss you sorely, but I am also very excited about getting refreshed! If I don’t take care of myself, I will not be able to take care of you as the Lord’s under-shepherd. As you keep my family and I in your prayers, we will do the same for you!
Dr. Williamson
POSTED: November 2, 2015