Recipe for a 45-Minute Sabbatical at Work

It’s counterintuitive to rest at work, and some may argue it’s counterproductive. I’ll give you the first, but I take issue with the second. You’ll find that intentional, God-focused pauses are some of the most productive times you’ll have at work.

I recently pulled together a 45-minute sabbatical plan for our Body of Christ Time at work – an hour each week of intentionally engaging with Christ and each other.

I was surprised by its impact on me. I positioned my desk chair beside a window and even pulled up another chair to stretch out my legs. I looked out the window and started taking in the view. Nothing special initially – I noticed the buildings across the street, the telephone wires, the occasional person walking by. Smack dab in the center of my view was a speed limit sign.  

Ha, I thought to myself, how I hate going 25 miles an hour while driving through town. Actually, I realized, I hate going 25 miles an hour while driving through life! It’s far too slow. There’s too much to accomplish.

But as my soul slowed down in those moments, I began noticing things I typically tune out. Like the soothing sound of the water fountain in my office, the soft ticking of my wall clock, and the quiet voice of my Shepherd with a few points of guidance for me. And my harried soul began to experience rest. More on that later.

If you’re game, here’s the recipe:


1. A piece of paper.

2. Pen.

3. Ruth Haley Barton’s poem, Sabbath in Late Fall.

5. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message version.

6. Reflection questions.*

Putting it together:

1. Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, consider yourself on a 45-minute sabbatical during the workday.

2. Go anywhere you like inside or outside. If you stay in your office, consider repositioning your chair for a different view of your surroundings. If possible, find a window to sit beside.

3. Make yourself comfortable.

4. Relax, breathe, pause, pray if you want…

5. Slowly read Ruth Haley Barton’s poem.

6. Take your time while reading the verses.

7. Breathe, pause, reflect…

8. Answer the reflection questions.*

Rest time:

45 minutes

Finishing the story:

During that 45-minute sabbatical, one of the things God impressed on me was the rapid pace I function in internally. I can project a calm exterior, but my interior is often going 90 mph. His admonition was to learn new unforced rhythms of His grace, from Matthew 11:28-10, one of which was to purposely take time during the workday to sit by that window for a few minutes!

Another was the refreshing power of the new. Sometimes our treasured times with God drift into tired routines. It often doesn’t take much to reinvigorate those times. Something as simple as a change of view, a new location where we meet with God, or a different version of the bible – can bring fresh vitality into our relationship with God.

Next time you’re busting through your workday at 90 miles an hour, remember the creation account and how God took time each day to reflect on His greatness as Creator and the goodness of what He’d created. Taking a productive pause in the midst of your workday is one of the most God-like activities you can engage in.

“Taking a productive pause in the midst of your workday is one of the most God-like activities you can engage in.”

- Lisa Hosler

When you’ve taken mini-sabbaticals at work, what’s the impact been? Or, after you’ve taken this 45-Minute Sabbatical, feel free to share your experience in the Comment Section below.

*Reflection Questions

1. What lines or phrases in the poem/verses were meaningful to you? Why?

2. What, if anything, is God nudging you to let go of (4th stanza of the poem)?

3. Is there a change of seasons going on in your life emotionally, relationally, spiritually?

4. Are there new “unforced rhythms of grace” God may want to bring into your life?

5. Write a prayer to God about whatever He’s laying on your heart.

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