THE reason for rest, renewal, restoration, and refocus

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.

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3 thoughts on “THE reason for rest, renewal, restoration, and refocus

  1. Dear Pastor Carey;

    Good stuff and thank you for sharing this message and your personal reflections. I have been ministering to a young person living on their own overseas for the past 6 years. It was a brutal situation living in the Middle East but was able to find Christian fellowship and church while working. In the last month the living condition worsened and was forced to return to their home country. I strongly encouraged this person to get reconnected with parents and sibling, but received an email, anxious to get back into the job market and travel.

    I encouraged this person, again, to reconnect with the family for a month while waiting upon the Lord’s plans. God is sovereign in this person’s life, as all of us. He is in complete control and will lead my friend in new directions. Be still, patient and wait as the Lord has already gone ahead.

    Your brother in Christ Jesus.

  2. I think while this is an incredibly important reason for rest and renewal, I think we need to be careful with saying it’s THE reason. It’s overly simplistic to view rest simply as something that we undertake to sharpen us for better usage in our times of productivity. Rest was done by God himself on the seventh day as a model to us, and I believe there’s more to rest than simply just a utilitarian benefit to our service. In and of itself, rest is a good thing, as we are obeying the command of our Lord if we do so. Rest forces us to acknowledge our humanity – both our need for rest and also dependence on him to keep working while we rest.
    It’s a fascinating and multifaceted subject.
    I wish you well on your upcoming sabbatical!

    • Hi Loren,
      I appreciate your comments, and they are well-taken. I wasn’t by any means meaning that our own need for rest or the productivity it may bring is the main goal. I was focusing more on the issue of our character, empowered and fueled by the Holy Spirit, is what reflects God most in us as Christian leaders. People need to see an example of what God can do in a person… and He does that through leaders. When we find that weariness is making that difficult, or even impossible, it’s time for a break.
      Thanks!

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