The Sense of the Call: A Sabbath Way of Life for Those Who Serve God, the Church, and the World Dawn, Marva J. cover image

Product Details
  • Cover Type:
  • 327 Pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Publishing Company
  • Publication Date: February 2006
  • ISBN: SDAWNMAJSENSEOFTHECALLASABBA9780802844590

The Sense of the Call: A Sabbath Way of Life for Those Who Serve God, the Church, and the World

Dawn, Marva J.

Pricing details

$13.09
$18.00 MSRP

Many good books have been written on the task of church ministry. A lesser number of good books have been written on the value of keeping the Sabbath. In The Sense of the Call, Marva Dawn has given us what may be one of the very few good resources that realize the two are essentially linked.

It is no secret that Christian workers—be they pastors, church officers, missionaries, or lay volunteers—experience a high degree of burnout. Dawn wisely notes that this tendency comes not just from the rigors of their work but from the war-weariness that results from confronting a culture indifferent to God—sometimes even within our own churches! In an approach refreshingly opposite the glut of “Christian” self-help books, she begins her prescription for Christian service burnout by focusing our attention on the power of Christ’s work on the cross. This work is not only an atonement for past sins but is the basis of our hope for the future in the glorious call to the Kingdom. Understanding the basis and goal of our calling is the first step toward courage for ministry.

Dawn then surveys the means of grace provided by God to encourage and strengthen the servants in his vineyard: resting, ceasing, feasting, and embracing.

Resting is Sabbath-keeping, entering into biblical time. It refreshes us not only by a cessation of work but also by linking us to the eschatological rest to come. Dawn does not propose that Sabbath is a wholly passive time, however, closely linking a life of prayer as a vital activity of the time of rest.

In ceasing, Dawn proposes that the wise servant of God is one who knows how to say “no” as easily as he says “yes.” Not only must this be a “no” to busyness that takes us off the focus of our call, but also a “no” to the many beckonings of worldliness.

Feasting begins with being good stewards of our bodies, recognizing that part of ministry burnout may be simply physical exhaustion. It also involves the importance of our life in community as the church, with the great feast of the preached Word and the Lord’s Supper at its center.

Finally, embracing involves equipping the saints (so that we do not carry the call alone) and viewing our weakness and suffering as God’s means of carrying out our calling, rather than as hindrances.

Why is it so hard to serve God these days? Church workers suffer from low morale, while Christians of all stripes struggle to find their way in a culture fixated on sexuality, violence, and wealth. In Keeping the Sabbath Wholly (1989) Marva Dawn introduced the vital Sabbath aspects of resting, ceasing, feasting, and embracing. Now, in The Sense of the Call, she expands these into a way of life for serving God and the Kingdom every single day of the week.

A Sabbath way of life, Dawn asserts, consists of resting in the Kingdom’s grace, ceasing by grace those attitudes and actions that hinder the Kingdom, feasting so as to radiate the grace-full splendor of the Kingdom, and embracing the Kingdom’s gracious purposes. To this end Dawn teaches skills such as learning to rest in prayer, saying no to busyness, enjoying one’s body as God’s temple, and embracing the cost of living as a Christian disciple.

Both frank and compassionate, The Sense of the Call will guide Christian servants into a more restful, joy-full life of trust in God.
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Many good books have been written on the task of church ministry. A lesser number of good books have been written on the value of keeping the Sabbath. In The Sense of the Call, Marva Dawn has given us what may be one of the very few good resources that realize the two are essentially linked.

It is no secret that Christian workers—be they pastors, church officers, missionaries, or lay volunteers—experience a high degree of burnout. Dawn wisely notes that this tendency comes not just from the rigors of their work but from the war-weariness that results from confronting a culture indifferent to God—sometimes even within our own churches! In an approach refreshingly opposite the glut of “Christian” self-help books, she begins her prescription for Christian service burnout by focusing our attention on the power of Christ’s work on the cross. This work is not only an atonement for past sins but is the basis of our hope for the future in the glorious call to the Kingdom. Understanding the basis and goal of our calling is the first step toward courage for ministry.

Dawn then surveys the means of grace provided by God to encourage and strengthen the servants in his vineyard: resting, ceasing, feasting, and embracing.

Resting is Sabbath-keeping, entering into biblical time. It refreshes us not only by a cessation of work but also by linking us to the eschatological rest to come. Dawn does not propose that Sabbath is a wholly passive time, however, closely linking a life of prayer as a vital activity of the time of rest.

In ceasing, Dawn proposes that the wise servant of God is one who knows how to say “no” as easily as he says “yes.” Not only must this be a “no” to busyness that takes us off the focus of our call, but also a “no” to the many beckonings of worldliness.

Feasting begins with being good stewards of our bodies, recognizing that part of ministry burnout may be simply physical exhaustion. It also involves the importance of our life in community as the church, with the great feast of the preached Word and the Lord’s Supper at its center.

Finally, embracing involves equipping the saints (so that we do not carry the call alone) and viewing our weakness and suffering as God’s means of carrying out our calling, rather than as hindrances.

Why is it so hard to serve God these days? Church workers suffer from low morale, while Christians of all stripes struggle to find their way in a culture fixated on sexuality, violence, and wealth. In Keeping the Sabbath Wholly (1989) Marva Dawn introduced the vital Sabbath aspects of resting, ceasing, feasting, and embracing. Now, in The Sense of the Call, she expands these into a way of life for serving God and the Kingdom every single day of the week.

A Sabbath way of life, Dawn asserts, consists of resting in the Kingdom’s grace, ceasing by grace those attitudes and actions that hinder the Kingdom, feasting so as to radiate the grace-full splendor of the Kingdom, and embracing the Kingdom’s gracious purposes. To this end Dawn teaches skills such as learning to rest in prayer, saying no to busyness, enjoying one’s body as God’s temple, and embracing the cost of living as a Christian disciple.

Both frank and compassionate, The Sense of the Call will guide Christian servants into a more restful, joy-full life of trust in God.
  • Cover Type:
  • 327 Pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Publishing Company
  • Publication Date: February 2006
  • ISBN: SDAWNMAJSENSEOFTHECALLASABBA9780802844590