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Sunday Extra | Corey Widmer

Sunday Extra: Work and Rest

Corey Widmer of Third Church in Richmond, Virginia, challenges us to follow the pattern of Jesus for work and rest teaching from Mark 6.

Happy  Labor Day Weekend! Today, we’ll hear from Corey Widmer.  Jim Osterhaus and I have had the privilege of working alongside Corey and the leaders at Third Church in Richmond over the last several years.  This morning, Corey continues his series on spiritual disciplines. In today’s message, he explores the importance of rest. He observes it has taken a global pandemic in our driven, goal-oriented world before we were finally forced to rest. Now that our world is opening back up (this sermon was recorded prior to the recent resurgence), he wonders what a new path might look like?

In Mark 6, Jesus commissions and sends out his disciples to preach, heal and cast out demons. They returned with a glowing report and were ready to charge out and do more. But instead, Jesus told them to stop and go to a quiet place for rest. As we study the life of Jesus, we are reminded that Jesus, in his human form, needed rest.  At LFM we encourage our leaders to seek safe times, safe places, and safe people.

In the Genesis narrative, God worked six days to create and then rested on the seventh day, creating the Sabbath. Surely the Creator of the Universe didn’t actually need rest. Instead, He wanted to establish a healthy pattern between work and rest.

It may seem a bit ironic to send you a sermon about rest on Labor Day, which celebrates workers and their achievements. However, this holiday originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. Following the deaths of 13 workers during the Pullman Strike in June of 1894, President Grover Cleveland made reconciliation with the labor movement a top political priority, and Labor Day become a federal holiday in 1894. Therefore, Labor Day is an opportunity for us to understand and celebrate God’s gift to us of Sabbath.


For months, we’ve been planning and preparing for our mentor gathering: Chetola 2021. It begins on September 7 and runs through the 10th. Please join us in praying for the team and leaders who are coming to immerse themselves in a mentor gathering. We believe the best way for new leaders to learn the practice of mentoring is to experience it firsthand. So we don’t call it “training”. We refer to it as a gathering or an experience.  We have leaders coming from all over the U.S. to be encouraged and challenged.

As a result, we hope to grow new Mentoring Communities for pastors in the United States. We have a special emphasis on pastors of small churches, congregations of color, and church planters.

Please pray:

  • Safety for travel to and from the event – and good health during the event
  • Open hearts for the participants and the facilitators
  • The direction of God’s Spirit over every conversation, teaching, and interaction

Your prayers and financial support equip and strengthen Leighton Ford Ministries. Your gifts provide the backbone, infrastructure, and resources to make this work possible.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and for your important role in mentoring healthy leaders who sustain thriving ministries for the sake of the Gospel.

Kevin Ford
Chief Catalyst
Leighton Ford Ministries

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