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The Rest of God by W. Scott Brown

Christian Leadership Alliance

“Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.” ~Psalm 116:7

By W. Scott Brown ~

Is your soul at rest? In a world experiencing turmoil and uncertainty do you exude Christlike peace? Have you experienced the rest of God? Nothing speaks more powerfully to those we lead, or impacts more profoundly today’s restless world. Resting in God moves us beyond our circumstances to the eternal sovereignty and love of our heavenly Father.

Lately, I have thought often of someone who rested in God – the Old Testament prophet Daniel. He has much to teach us as leaders today. I’m inspired by the wisdom, integrity and grace with which he led in a culture hostile to his faith. Most of all, I’m encouraged by Daniel’s trust in God.

Daniel’s peace came from his certainty in God’s sovereign care. We see that in Daniel 6:10: “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

Did you catch that? Daniel gave thanks to God, “just as he had done before.” He had long integrated worship into his daily life. Daniel’s course was set before the crisis came. Like the psalmist he remembered the Lord’s goodness. He was thankful. Despite his crucible, he rested in God.

What about us?

I recently read two books that have influenced my thinking on this topic: The Rest of God: Restoring your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan (Thomas Nelson, 2006) and Inside Job: Doing the Work Within the Work by Stephen W. Smith (IV Press, 2015).

The Rest of God          

In this book, author Mark Buchanan urges us to integrate “Sabbath” into our lives. He says Sabbath is more than just a day; it is also an attitude. He reminds us of Psalm 46:10 which says to: “Be still and know that I am God …”

“Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness,” says Buchanan. “It is both time on a calendar and a disposition of the heart. It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. Sabbath imparts the rest of God – actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God – the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness.”

The Inside Job

In this powerful new book, author Stephen W. Smith urges us to integrate our inner and outer lives as leaders. As co-founder and president of The Potter’s Inn, a Colorado-based spiritual formation ministry, Smith helps leaders do the inside work of leadership. He says our success hinges on our prioritizing our emotional and spiritual health. He encourages the pursuit of “rhythm” over the myth of “balance.”

“Rhythm is God’s way of helping us live resilient lives …,” says Smith. “Living in rhythm is about what we do and don’t do. Whether or not we choose to rest, whether we decide to practice a Sabbath, whether we choose to turn off our phone and not look at email after we come home from a long day of work – all of these things are about our behavior. These things are also about choice. We can choose to live in a sustainable rhythm; we can choose to do something positive about our life. The question is ‘will we?’”

Here at Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA) we’re dedicated to equipping and uniting leaders to transform the world for Christ. We know that transformation starts in the heart of the leader. It is our prayer that, like Daniel, you experience the rest of God in your daily leadership.


W. Scott Brown is the vice president for leadership experiences and resources for Christian Leadership Alliance, and editor-in-chief of CLA’s national magazine Outcomes.

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