I went away last Friday Night with my family to Indiana Beach. We had a very relaxing time, and I came back refreshed. I felt more relaxed this past Sunday morning at church than I have in weeks. We have visited family once since our arrival here in Illinois last April, and I took one Sunday off to attend an NFL game last fall. However, I rarely get away from the church or home. This was the closest thing to a real vacation we have had in a year and a half.
I know many ministers in the same position, who do not take the needed day off, or vacation at all. It is part of the nature of the job, that we feel everything will fall apart while we are gone. I can remember my first pastorate 10 years ago, where when we were gone for four or five days to visit family or friends, I literally thought daily that the church would burn down while I was away. My thought while away from my church often fluxuate between disaster of the physical nature, to a hostile take over in my absense. While I know these things can and do sometimes happen, I don’t think that my being there will stop them.
I have experienced a painful return to a church after a vaction, in fact I realized this weekend that this is why I haven’t taken time away in over a year. I returned to problems after a vaction, and those problems led me away from that church. The pain in my heart was real, but I am learning that God moves us to new places for His work and His benefit. Paul and Barnabas separated to continue God’s work where they went. God still uses people today in much the same way. We do not always have to fear these encounters with dread, because God likely has a greater plan in mind.
Pain and hurt can be real, but worry will destroy us. We must not worry to the point of never taking time off. Rest and relaxation are gifts of God, and they are also His command. When was the last time you took some real time of rest for you and your family. It just might be the most valuable time you will spend for your family, your ministry, or your job. Live in God’s peace and harmony in all that you do, and get some real rest.
Enjoy your journey with Jesus today