Next year will be a year of Sabbath rest for me and the land I’ve faithfully cultivated these past six years.
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Thanks to the generosity of our community, we raised 65% of our Fall Fundraiser goal. We praise the Lord for His continued provision and for our incredible team of faithful donors.
Nadia (14), Ryan, Sarah, and Anya (16) Koontz

Happy Holidays, Friend

This will be our final SOULfood of 2023. Thank you for being part of our free Bible study community.

We are grateful for you and pray that your holiday is filled with joy and peace. We will have fresh, inspirational content ready for your inbox in January.

Before we begin our holiday break, I want to take this opportunity to share some exciting news with you.

My husband and I founded Living by Design Ministries six years ago—on December 22, 2017.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to take a sabbatical during our seventh full year of ministry. I didn't know what this year of rest would look like, but I felt like it was a non-negotiable.

The rhythms of rest God established for his people in the Old Testament are compelling. Especially what is written in Leviticus 25:2-7 HCSB:

"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten."

I have always viewed this ministry as God's land (Lv 25:23). It is the space God has given me to cultivate, plant, and grow. As an overseer of this gift, it is my responsibility to protect the fertility and usefulness of this soil.

2024 will be a year of Sabbath rest for me and the land I've faithfully cultivated these past six years.

Here are some biblical truths that will guide and direct my decisions during this Sabbatical:

  • You may sow for six years, but there will be a Sabbath "of complete rest for the land in the seventh year" (Lv 25:3-4). I will not write any new content in 2024. However, our team will continue to send bi-weekly content to our readers (from our guest contributors and the archives).

  • "Whatever the land produces during the Sabbath year can be food for you" (Lv 25:6). During my sabbatical rest, I will focus on feeding my soul and nourishing my family life. Instead of cultivating spiritual fruit for others, I will nurture growth in my own life.

  • "Then the land will yield its fruit, so that you can eat, be satisfied, and live securely in the land" (Lv 25:19). In 2024, I will seek God's direction for the next six years of ministry. I will consistently ask Him to make this a fruitful and secure land that satisfies many.

Since I started writing Bible studies in 2017, I have always had a clear picture of what I'm supposed to do next.

I would finish one study and immediately know what to write next. It's been an amazing experience.

Yet, as I finished the Paul study, I realized that I had completed every writing assignment that God had clearly revealed to me.

At this time, I have no other studies in my heart and mind. And that's a good thing! Because I'm tired.

I have been pouring out for so many years, and I just need to rest a while.

I love God's beautiful timing and think it's pretty amazing that He gave me this idea so many years ago. He knew where I'd be today and how much I'd need a break from writing.

As always, I am His servant and will do whatever He asks of me. I will trust Him for the next steps as I obey Him in this sabbatical year.

I trust Him with this land.

"I meditate on all You have done; I reflect on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; I am like parched land before You. Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Don't hide Your face from me…Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Reveal to me the way I should go because I long for You." Psalm 143:5b-7a,8 HCSB

Your Bible Study Partner,
Sarah Koontz
Living by Design Ministries

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