As many of you know, I’ve been granted a sabbatical by my church family… beginning late October, until March 1st of next year (2012). I’ve been doing my best to prepare for it, so that the time away has the best possible benefit for me and my family, as well as for my church family. In doing my preparation, I came across a 63 page packet that the Navigators use to prepare their staff members for times of sabbatical (if I didn’t already need a rest, reading that would have caused me to need one). One paragraph in that packet stood out to me… and is ringing in my heart and mind as I consider sabbatical…
In Christian work, the messenger is the message. If we don’t embody the message, the morals, and the model, it’s
probably time for a sabbatical: an extended time of rest, reflection, and realignment. Someone in a secular role
could have an affair, struggle with an addiction, or be distant from God, and still be effective. But in a Christian
ministry, this would be hypocritical.
This resonates with what the Lord placed in my heart long ago. Of course I’m not perfect, not completely sanctified… but as a minister of the gospel I have to be the kind of “work in progress” that gives people reason to hope, not reason to roll their eyes. The point this paragraph is making is that when in the course of ministry weariness, fatigue, wounds, or even sin have become obstacles to my life reflecting the message accurately, then I need a break – either to rest, renew, restore, or refocus. It’s vital… and I’m thankful for it.