“The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the LORD. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.”(Leviticus 25:1-5)
In August of 2005, I released my very first independent CD, “For Freedom”. This was the album that got the attention of Inpop Records only three month after it’s release, which ultimately led to my first ever record contract in February ’06. I was 19 when that first album dropped. Still in college with plans to be a history teacher. I’m writing today as a twenty six year old. In a week I will be a father of two. Six years of marriage to my best friend next month. And, this August will also mark seven years since “For Freedom” was released and my career began. So much has happened in these seven years, and I’m grateful for it all.
There is an often undervalued command of Scripture that we find in Leviticus 25. It is a passage on rest. Specifically, God commands that every seven years the people are to cease tilling the ground, gathering it’s fruits, sowing and reaping. “There shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land” (Lev. 25:5). The command served dual purposes. First and most practically, it allowed the ground a year of “recovery time” for it to replenish the nutrients that the soil had lost over the past six years. This rest actually made the soil even better than before so that the next six years could be fruitful and profitable.
The second purpose was not for the soil but for the people: “But in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath…to the LORD.” Every business owner knows, work equals provision. You put your hours of labor every day and yield a return that will provide for you and your employees as well as grow your company. Time off means regression, no production, no provision. This is a terrifying thing. Maybe that’s why so many Americans are work-a-holics. The Lord knows this about mankind, and He knows that what is best for man is not to rest in their own efforts, but to rest in Him. He is their provider and their ceasing from work is a tangible way for them to affirm that.
I wanted you to know all that so that I can inform you of something. This August, in honor of my seven years of laboring in the studio and on stage, and in keeping with the essence of the levitical command, I have decided to take a Sabbath rest. Not for a year, but for a month. From August 5th until September 5th I intend to one thing, rest. My goal is to take thirty days to press into the Lord and to invest in my family and friends. I am hoping this will yield two results: First, that just like the fallow soil replenishing its nutrients, my heart will grow a renewed fondness and desire for Jesus, that He would expand my appetite for Him and then satisfy that appetite. I’ve been going virtually non-stop for seven years and there is no question that on some level, my relationship with Him has suffered because of that. I look forward to hours of uninterrupted God-time to pray, read and enjoy being in His presence. The second outcome I am aiming for is to remind my heart that it is the Lord and not my labors which provide for me and my family. Despite misconceptions about my financial situation as a recording artist, if I’m not on the road, I’m not making money. Thirty days of no income is no fun, but I believe and am trusting that God will provide in the interim. The Lord says to the people, “The Sabbath of the land shall provide for you” (v. 6). It’s a funny statement. It’s like saying, “not providing will provide for you.” Our provision is not by works, but by God’s grace as we rest from our works! This beautiful passage is a shadow, an arrow of the future grace that was to be poured out on people when Jesus came to earth. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And that, not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Not by works so that no man may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9). My God “provides for His beloved even in their sleep” (Psalm 127:2)!
So, what can you do during this next month? Well, I would deeply appreciate your prayers. Pray that I would actively not waste my Sabbatical. Pray that I would work hard to rest. Pray for new vision from God about what these next 5-10 years hold for me and my family. Pray for new inspiration for songs when I come back. Pray for provision for us in these next months. You can also pray for my wife, Kelly. August 16th she will be giving birth to our second baby girl, Sophia Quinn. We are so excited and would greatly appreciate prayers for a smooth delivery and a healthy little girl.
I consider you all my family, which is why I want to inform you of all these things. We are all in this together, working and resting for one glorious purpose: that in all things we would make Jesus famous!