Author: Mark Roberts

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.

Women preparing sandwiches at a Five Guys restaurant

Who Gets to Rest from Working?

In Exodus 20, God says that sabbath rest is for everyone, including “you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.” Each of us must take seriously the implications of this commandment for ourselves. And if we have authority over others in the workplace, we must make sure they have the opportunity to rest and refresh on a regular basis.

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An older couple sitting on a bench overlooking a beach

The Command to Work and Rest

The way we experience work and rest will vary with our situation and season in life. But no matter our context or age, we will honor God’s design and desire if we live according to a faithful and wise pattern of work and rest. 

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A father and child playing at the beach

The First “Holiday”

The word “holiday” comes from the older English phrase, “holy day.” The first holiday, therefore, was the day when God stopped working and “made holy” the seventh day. Scripture says we are to keep the sabbath holy in response to and in imitation of what God did on the seventh day. We keep the sabbath holy by ceasing from work and receiving God’s gift of rest. 

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Finishing Your Work by Resting

If you are not quite sure what to do on a day of rest from work, God’s example of finishing the work by resting offers pertinent guidance. Find a time when you are resting to reflect on the work you have done recently. Take a delight in its goodness. Recognize ways in which your work is also part of a fallen world. Offer your work to the Lord in worship. Remember that God is sovereign even over your work.

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Why Did God Rest?

According to Genesis 2:1-3, on the seventh day of creation, God rested. Genesis doesn’t tell us exactly why God rested. But the fact that God also blessed and hallowed the seventh day strongly suggests that God rested for our benefit. God wanted us to know just how important rest is for our lives. 

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Unexpected and Foundational Rest

After creating the universe in six days, God set aside a day for rest. God’s action on the seventh day—or, better yet, God’s decision to cease working—is foundational for our understanding and practice of rest. If God rested, then surely those of us created in God’s image should also rest. But God’s example creates a compelling case for the importance and even the necessity of rest. 

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A birthday gift wrapped in bright pink paper

Unwrapping the Gift of Sabbath

Jesus said that the sabbath “was made for humankind.” God created the sabbath as a gift for us. Some of us have unwrapped this gift and delight in it. Others of us have still to unwrap it. Scripture will show us how to embrace the sabbath for God’s glory and our good. 

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A hammock at sunset time

Is This a Season for Rest?

The New Testament offers us freedom when it comes to things like the foods we eat or the days set apart for rest. Yet this freedom is not freedom from rest . . . regular, intentional, delightful, restorative, worshipful rest. God created us as beings who need rest. God’s directives in Scripture call us to rest. And God’s own example dramatically underscores these instructions. Rest is a gift from God for our well-being as well as God’s glory. 

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An old-fashioned timecard punch clock on a wall filled with business cards

Six Essential Truths About Work

Today is Labor Day in the United States, a good time to consider six essential truths about work revealed through the first chapter of the Bible. Genesis 1 shows us that: 1. God is the first worker. 2. God’s work is good. 3. God created us in God’s own image. 4. God created us to work. 5. Work is essentially good. 6. There is a time to work and a time to rest.

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A desk with notebooks, phone, and calculator; on one notebook is written "Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)

Drawing Near to God When You Feel Like a Worm

As the Israelites were threatened and oppressed by the powerful nations in the Ancient Near East, they felt like a “worm” . . . small, helpless, vulnerable, powerless. But their “wormishness” was an opportunity for them to experience the presence and power of God, who was there to help. So it is with us. When we feel weak and vulnerable, we are ready to draw near to God so that we might experience God’s strength and protection.

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A neon sign reading "wait"

Waiting for the LORD

Do you feel weary today? Weary from the burdens of work, leadership, and life in general? If so, Isaiah 40 would encourage you to wait for the Lord. As you put your hope in God and lean upon God’s strength, you will be renewed and energized for resilience.

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The Power and Tenderness of a God-Inspired Leader

Isaiah 40 portrays both the power of God and the tenderness of God. This portrait encourages us to consider our own leadership. When we exercise our power or authority, do we do it with tenderness? With compassion? With grace?

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How Will I Be Remembered After I’m Gone? Part 3

I recently received a request from a dear friend to officiate at his memorial service. I was honored to be asked and will gladly do the service, assuming that my very active 82-year-old friend doesn’t outlive me.

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A father tenderly holding a newborn

The Power and Tenderness of God

God is powerful beyond our comprehension. Nothing in the universe matches the might of God. Yet God’s powerful arm does not smash us down. Rather, it reaches down to gather us and to embrace us.

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An open Bible with a pink rose lying on top of it

The Word of God Will Stand Forever

In a culture permeated by cynicism, it’s hard to trust anyone or anything. So often that in which we put our confidence fails like withering grass. According to Isaiah 40, however, “the word of our God will stand forever.” We can put our trust in God’s truth, allowing it to guide all that we do in life.

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