Published by Barnabas International • PO Box 11211 • Rockford, IL 61126 • Volume XVI • No. 4 •April 2002
LEE HOTCHKISS, Executive Director <> LAREAU LINDQUIST, Founder
Many of us ministers work too hard . . . with days that are too busy and too long. Although I don't like the word workaholic, it accurately describes some of us. We have never needed to be told to 'get to work.' We have been energetic and ambitious. This issue of ENCOURAGEMENT is dedicated to all of us self-starters . . . you and me, who need to learn the beauty of a relaxed life . . . a properly paced life . . . a rightly-balanced life. These are beautiful words that long to be descriptive of you and me . . . relaxed, paced, and balanced. Not all Christian workers fit into these categories. I have known some who are sluggish and lethargic. In fact I have worked with some of these. To such among you I say, Get to work. And now, to the rest of us.
TWO MEMORABLE COMMENTS
I remember two comments which, when stated, fed my workaholic tendencies. Both comments came from church chairmen whom I served as pastor.
Pastor, are you all caught up? When I asked my deacon board for a five-day out of state visit to my parental family, my chairman asked me this question, Are you all caught up? I was shocked. I had never even thought about being all caught up. Are we Christian workers ever all caught up? When Jesus took personal time to get away to the lake or to the mountains, was He all caught up? Was everyone converted? Discipled? Trained? Healed? Encouraged? The answer is NO. Yet He took a break.
Pastor, I admire you for your hard work. Thanks for never even taking a day off. I knew that this was sincerely stated as a compliment. I took it as such. But eventually I started to realize how mistaken I was for not taking a day off. Until then I confused my love for ministry with my love for God. I now know they are not one and the same.
These and other comments from fellow-Christians are often confusing and negative. You, no doubt, have similar stories to tell.
Jesus, in Mark 6:31-32, said Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. Of course ministry is important but we need breaks, even from ministry. Yes . . . during the course of the year, during the course of each week, and even mini-vacation breaks during the day.
With the Apostle Paul, I say, I thank Christ Jesus for appointing me to His service (I Timothy 1:12). I love the ministry. But God deserves first place in my life. I love Him more than I love my ministry.
Balanced living requires care for my family. God has no alternate plan for caring for my family. He has commissioned me to do it. If not me, then who?
Balanced living also requires care for my body, the temple of God (I Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20). These disciplines are very important: sufficient sleep, healthy food, sensible exercise, and creative hobbies. David found refreshment by playing his harp.
Balanced living certainly requires care for my spiritual life. As our ministries grow, the demands on our time also grow. Unless we are very vigilant, we will experience the crisis explained in the Book of Acts, chapter six. Fortunately they took some necessary steps to assure that their primary commitments would continue to be prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:1-4). A friend helped us decorate our new home recently. We have a large picture of Jesus by Hook. She put it at the highest place in the room, resting on the top of a curio cabinet. As she did so she said . . . Well really! Where else does Jesus belong . . . if not over everything? Well said!
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