You've heard the phrase "Take time to stop and smell the roses." It's a very good idea. Too many of us are too busy to do it. We are borderline workaholics . . . maybe not "borderline." Let's tell it like it is . . . we are workaholics.
I spent twenty years as a pastor, serving with the Evangelical Free Church in Nebraska, Iowa, California, and Illinois. Following that I have been in para-church ministries . . . with the Institute of Holy Land Studies in Israel (for three years) and with Barnabas International (for the last twenty-five years).
Especially in the pastorates, I was very busy. There was a lot of teaching and preaching. And in order to do it well, I spent lots of time in study and prayer. Add to this the necessities of visitation, weddings, funerals, board meetings and committee meetings.
One memory is still with me. After a very busy season, I felt that Evie and I, and the kids, needed to get up to Minnesota to see both sets of parents. When the deacon board met, I asked permission to take four days for a quick trip up to Minnesota. One of the deacons said to me, "Well, Pastor, are you all caught up?" Evidently I couldn't be gone for a few days unless I was "all caught up." Admittedly, I was flabbergasted. What a question. I don't remember what I said, but it must have been all right because they let us go for four days!
Have you ever been asked that question . . . Are you all caught up? Most of us maybe keep working harder and harder just in case we are ever asked that question.
I love to study the life and ministry of Jesus in the gospels. Often He would take some time off to go alone to the mountain . . . or to go out on the lake. And . . . here's my question. When He would take a few days away from the disciples, was He all caught up? Had everyone been converted? Had everyone become a disciple? Had each disciple been mentored? Had every diseased person been healed? Was there no more need for His ministry?
I remember Jesus saying to His disciples, "Come apart." I have learned the importance of heeding His message "to come apart." Indeed, I have learned that if we do not respond to His invitation "to come apart," we will come apart like this: c-o-m-e-a-p-a-r-t.
I heard a speaker urge all of us to take "mini-vacation" stops during the course of the day. It will often be the "pause that refreshes." Let there be such times . . .
Don't let the example of Epaphroditus (Philippians chapter 2) steer you into almost "working yourself to death." I've heard some say . . . I'd rather work out than rust out. Are there any other options?
Founder, Senior Associate