Earlier this morning, I read the following in Exodus 23:10-12.

“For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard. Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman and the alien, may be refreshed.”

We might not plow fields and raise oxen like the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, but there is a timeless principle behind the Lord’s commands in these verses. God created us with a need for proactive rhythms of regular rest. That means work is not more important to God than rest, and we don’t rest primarily to get ourselves back in shape for work. We rest as an expression of utter dependence on God. The rest God appointed for Israel forced them to remember that it is ultimately the work of God’s hands, not our hands, that provides the food we need.

That’s on the reasons I’m looking forward to taking a 6 week break this summer. From June 1 – July 10, our elders have released me from pastoral responsibilities so that I can get some much-needed physical, spiritual and emotional rest. Priorities while I’m away include spending unhurried time in the Word and prayer, getting out of town for a week with my wife, and investing in our kids.

Though I know I’m going to miss being at KingsWay, I’m confident my brothers and sisters will be well-served in my absence. One of our elders, Chris Deloglos, is a school teacher and has several months off every summer. Chris is going to use part of his summer break to shoulder some of my day to day ministry responsibilities. Were it not for his sacrificial investment, I simply wouldn’t be able to leave. Both Chris and Josh Kruger, our pastor-in-training, will continue preaching from Ephesians, interspersed by a handful of guest speakers from other Sovereign Grace churches in our region. Between the two of them and the rest of the office staff, KingsWay will be in good hands.

The support and gratitude many of you expressed after Chris announced my break last Sunday has been tremendously encouraging. I thank God for calling me to a church that cares for her pastors and is eager to see my family and me prosper for decades to come. It will be good for us to get away. And it will be just as good to come back!

Matthew grew up attending KingsWay and joined the pastoral staff in 2009. God has blessed him and his wife, Aliza, with three rambunctious boys. Matthew did his undergraduate work at the University of Richmond in chemistry and political science, spent a year at the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College, and received his Masters of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


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