The Significance of Taking Time Away
We are living in ever-changing times. The speed of life seems to be racing out of control. Factor in a pandemic and the relentless pursuit of our world to legalize, justify, and celebrate sin can cause pastors and ministry leaders to believe that our task is so vast that we cannot even think of taking time away from the demands of ministry. I didn’t even mention the uncharted waters leaders are facing within the church and the decisions in connection with all these things.
Beyond this, ministry to the lost and hurting continues. You may be asking, “How can I possibly take any time away to refresh and be renewed in Christ Jesus?” The real question is, “How can I not take time away?”
In Scripture, we read of several occasions when Jesus went up the mountain to pray and spend time with His Father. Not only did He do this for His own personal care and enrichment, He did this to be an example for you and me.
For me personally, I believe one of the reasons active, hard-working pastors struggle with taking time to rest is the fact that they equate rest with laziness. For some, sitting still in solitude for an extended time causes one to think we are violating some made-up “pastor code.” Rest is a major part of God’s design — we can actually view rest as a weapon against the enemy because it is a demonstration of our hope and trust in the Lord during our most trying times.
Right after the beheading of John the Baptist, we read of how Jesus invited His disciples to join Him to come away and rest with Him in Mark 6:30-32, “Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.”
Following this precious time of rest, Jesus performed one of His greatest miracles known as “The Feeding of the Five Thousand.” The disciples participated in ministering to the people alongside Him. If we could see our times of rest and refreshing as a time of preparation for what He has planned next, we would not hesitate to make time to rest in His presence as the Holy Spirit directs us.
Let me urge you, Pastor, take time to refresh and renew in Christ Jesus. If we would enter a regular cycle of rest following seasons of ministry, we would enter His flow, His rhythm, His pace for our lives. We would know His joy and peace more intimately because we have positioned ourselves at the center of His will. Ultimately, we would be following the example that Jesus lived by intentionally taking time to rest and pray following times of intense ministry. The great promise for all believers is that one day we will enter His eternal rest, never to be exhausted, run-down, or lacking strength again. Therefore, as we continue in the “good fight of faith,” He offers us glimpses of His rest along the way that we would be strengthened, encouraged, and equipped for every good work.
God’s abundant blessings to you, your family, and the body of believers to which you are called to serve!
For your encouragement and care,
Shepherd’s Fortress Ministries