And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. Mark 6:31
This week’s SS lesson talks about the importance of rest, and that is something that I get plenty of. I do not apologize for saying this and why should I? Our western culture has the erroneous idea that being “too busy” is some sort of status symbol. It’s not. It’s not healthy and it’s not productive. Don’t get me wrong. I do my job. Like many gospel workers I put in about 60 hours a week. My blogs and Internet ministry do not count towards my hours worked. Being salaried I may never clock into work but I never really clock out either. Here is the key, I pace myself. I work hard but I also play hard. I don’t apologize for my golf hobby. It keeps me balanced. I used to obsess over things at work. Now I just go play golf. When I come back I find God has been taking care of things for me. I enjoy kayaking and watching sunsets. I enjoy sitting on the park bench reading my Bible and spending time with Jesus as friends and not just work associates. These things keep me balanced so I do not obsess, and by pacing myself I am more productive in my ministry than I would be otherwise.
Some have hinted that I need to be very secretive if I sneak in a game of golf after working 14 hours the day before, or that I should not be posting on Facebook that I am enjoying a sunset on the beach after having had Bible studies with 12 people earlier in the day. So in defense of myself (Not that anyone has placed me in defense mode) and other gospel workers for that matter, consider this; While you may happen to catch your pastor on the golf course on a weekday afternoon, what you did not see was him at the emergency room till 3am praying with a family in the waiting room. While you may see your pastor picking up his kids from school and taking them to Dairy Queen for the afternoon, what you did not see was him on the phone from 2-4am talking someone out of suicide. I speak for all gospel workers when I say, we are busy. There is a lot you see us do but there is even more you don’t see us do.
The Gospel Worker, and everyone else needs time to rest. We need to recharge our batteries, but even during our “down time” when the mind is relaxed and clear, we can have some of our greatest bursts of inspiration. Some of my best ideas for evangelism have come on my day off while I was just relaxing or sitting on a park bench “with Jesus.” Pace yourself. Work hard. Play hard, and when Jesus tells you, go ahead and come rest a while.
We all need a little Mary as well as a little Martha in all of us. I have to remind myself in the mornings, when I am tempted to hit the floor running, that I am not going to be any help to the multitude until I have first been alone with Jesus. I sure do rest a lot, and it makes me a more productive worker, and if I pace myself right, I will be a productive worker for decades to come.