Dove Award winning recording artist and speaker Cheri Keaggy recently opened up about the importance of following the Biblical mandate for keeping work and rest in balance - especially in today's fast-paced culture.
Keaggy, 47, served as the keynote speaker at the Prayer Breakfast for the The National Propane Gas Association's 69th Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo, which was held at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee earlier this week.
The singer/songwriter, who is a three time Dove Award nominee, winner once for 1998 Special Event Album of the Year for her contribution to God With Us, shared from her own experiences with overwork and how it negatively affected her life.
"Overwork is a form of unbelief. Chronic overloading is not a spiritual prerequisite for authentic Christianity. Quite the contrary, overloading is often what we do when we forget who God is," she told attendees, quoting authors Priscilla Shirer and Richard Swenson.
She pointed to the Fourth Commandment to drive her point home: "What if the Sabbath Day was as important, if not more important, than the other days preceding it?" she asked.
"My prayer is that all-too-busy believers will rediscover the simple joy of being with Jesus, sitting with Him, delighting in Him," she added.
Keaggy opened the program by singing the title cut from her latest CD, No Longer My Own, and closed the prayer breakfast with two of her fan-favorites, "You Go Before" and "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."
"I was excited at the opportunity to minister during the prayer breakfast for these leaders," the singer said. "I know how these conventions go. I've attended the equivalent in my own industry. It's all about networking, expansion, increased productivity, advanced technology, and spreading your message to the masses. Essentially...bigger, better, faster, more. After a great deal of prayer, I felt led to counter this emphasis by challenging them in the area of rest."
She added, "I suspected that many of them, particularly at the end of an uber-packed week, were likely running on fumes."
During a February interview with The Gospel Herald, Keaggy further opened up about the importance of rest and how her personal experience with burnout led her to write the song "Be My Sabbath."
"I wear a lot of hats; I am constantly on the go, and I experienced a strange burnout that I hadn't really experienced very often because I'm a doer," she said. "I found myself after a really busy season of ministry with absolutely nothing left - it was this numb place that was foreign to me and I was crying out to God. I remember one morning getting up and scribbling some words on a notepad, words like 'I can't keep doing this, I'm not a machine.' I wrote, 'If faith without works is dead, then I need to die for a weekend,' and that ended up being a lyric in 'Be My Sabbath.'"
She explained that Christ himself modeled the importance of rest throughout Scripture: "The word 'sabbath' literally means to "stop, to pause." God is giving us permission to not be in a frenzy all the time. God is teaching me I can't do all the things He's calling me to do if I can't honor him in the Sabbath. It's not a suggestion, it's a commandment. He's teaching me that I can take stop and take a day of rest guilt-free."
The singer also revealed she hopes her latest album will encourage believers to live fearlessly for the Lord: "When God brings you through a hard season, you are able to stand back and look at the broader picture," she said. "I wanted this album to embolden believers to live more fearlessly for Christ, because we are in a climate where we're actually being persecuted in some ways - some persecuted to the point of death, but others just persecuted for our beliefs and for standing for what's right."
Keaggy married Eddie Keaggy, nephew of the legendary Phil Keaggy, but has since divorced. She has nine albums, with her first being Child of the Father after renowned Christian music producer Charlie Peacock discovered her.
For more information about Keaggy and No Longer My Own, visit cherikeaggy.com.