Maybe this will be my only post, maybe not...but this is by far one of the most important lessons I have learned in life and ministry...so take this to heart!
It is this: We need to work harder. Yeah right.
God created the entire cosmos in 6 days, not 7 remember? He majestically created all that is and will be, and on the 7th day...He rested! Need I say more? The Holy God of the universe models how we are to spend our days on the earth. Work and then rest! Work and then rest!
I learned this the hard way. In and out of the hospital several times for one reason in the first 5 years of crazy ministry at New Hope: Stress and lack of true rest.
Rick Warren says, "We must: Divert Daily; Withdraw Weekly; and Abandon Annually."
Do I really divert daily to be with God and to be with myself?
Do I really withdraw weekly away from my greatest stresses and into real rest?
Do I really abandon annually and leave it all behind?
I had to learn the hard way that God doesn't need me to build His Kingdom. He really just wants me. He wants my attention and I need His. Whether our "work" is paid in the church or in the market place. Been in both.
Rest: Vacation: Days Off: Retreats:Whatever You Need to Refresh
That doesn't mean I am tearing up the Bible on my weeks off. As a matter of fact, I have taken a sabbatical from Scripture and set devotions this week and will kick back into it next week at the beach. But I have rested. I have breathed prayers, I have gotten away from the stresses of the world and the ministry. (And caught up the honey-do list from the previous year!)
I covet my days off and let nothing stand in the way anymore. I have learned to say no, so that I can say yes to the right things and so that I can cross the finish line in my marriage, my ministry and in my life knowing that I didn't just have time for a job, but that I had time for my King, my Family, and my Self!
Do you really rest? Have you found something that takes you away? If not, I bet you are pretty tired and miserable right now. You know you are...admit it!
I sleep (8 hours almost every night! How do you think I have this much energy?), I golf, I read, I hang out with friends, I hunt or fish, I attend retreats and conferences, we go on a date night almost every Friday, we go on vacation and get away several times a year, I am out no more than 1 night a week for work, I preach no more than 4-6 weekends and then take 2 weekends off...these are just a few things I have disciplined myself to do so that I want to come back and grind out another day, week and year of ministry (or whatever your "work" is)!
Divert Daily with the King and yourself.
Withdraw Weekly and find something that refreshes you so you want to get back at it.
Abandon Annually and you will begin to see why God set it up this way.
Do this and you will cross the finish line without being in a wheelchair. I want to sprint across it.
Off to the OBX today with the family. peace.