It amazes me how much God allows us to do in His work. As human beings, we do not have much to offer the Creator of this universe and yet it pleases Him to further His work through us. This thought always humbles me and makes me grateful that we have the honor and opportunity to serve.
And as Paul has said, we ought not be weary in well doing. No doubt about it, serving the Lord takes work and dedication. And at times, we feel tired and worn out. I used to think that if I was so tired after a hard week of ministry that I must be doing it in the flesh. I’m glad I was wrong!
It is a battle. Paul calls it a fight. It’s alright to be weary from well doing so long as it does not cause us to quit. After all in due season, we will reap if we faint not.
For years I felt guilty about taking vacations. And if I did, it would be for a short time or I would have some work with me while I was out of town. There were times I felt that I was slacking off if I took some time away.
Then it was as if the Lord asked me, “Do you think the ministry is gonna fall apart because you’re not there? Do you think you’re the only one that can do what you do?” That’s when I realized, it’s okay to go on vacations. It’s okay to come a part once in a while. Someone once said it this way, “If we don’t, once in a while come apart, we will come apart.” The lesson of course is in the rest that is necessary to keep us going for a long time. May I also say that my thoughts about ministry going on without me were very prideful for me personally? I am not advocating a less-than-dedicated approach to ministry. We should be in our place when we our able but there are times when we are less effective because we lack the energy to serve God.
My family and I just finished a ten day vacation and I feel great! In thinking and thanking God for this opportunity to come apart, I thought of the few steps I have taken to properly rest and stay in the battle. These steps are a result of counsel from other godly Christians as well as some personal life lessons along the way.
Listen to the Spirit
There have been times I have argued with God about when I should rest. I’ve even told Him I wasn’t that tired. Like He doesn’t already know! Don’t you suppose He knows our bodies better than we?
Listen to your Spouse
I’m so horrible at this. There’s always another appointment, another project, another ministry that needs my attention. Outside of the Lord, our spouse sees the weariness that could turn into a weakness. Don’t be so proud to miss the help our spouse can give to us.
Layout a Strategy
Look at the calendar and plan out your times of rests and vacation. You know when the busy times are in ministry. Don’t let them surprise you! Prepare by being rested and recuperate by taking some rest.
A story was told of Dr. and Mrs. Lee Roberson as they had dinner with a group of preachers. Dr. Roberson preached well into his 90’s until the Lord called Him home. One of the young preachers asked him, “What’s the secret to staying in ministry for decades?” Dr. Roberson answered, “Dying to self, loving the Saviour, seeking souls,” and on and on he went. Mrs. Roberson gently touched his arm and interrupted him. “Dear, what you’re not telling these preachers is that you take a nap everyday!” The whole room erupted in laughter.
It was a very busy 2010! There were many victories. There were a lot of valleys, too. All of which took its toll on me and my family. I love the Lord and I love being able to live my days serving Him. But I don’t want to be a casualty. I don’t want to be a cast away! I want to keep working until Jesus comes. And as I follow His example, He saw the necessity of coming apart and I should, too. Today I feel refreshed and ready to take on what 2011 has to bring. All because I have taken the time to come apart!