Vacation

We’re leaving on Wednesday for a 2 week vacation.  For 2 weeks I will read books, visit with our daughter and son-in-law, go to a Revolutionary War battlefield, tour a plantation and eat out a lot.  I’m sure I will enjoy myself and I pray I will come back rested and ready to take up ministry with new vigor and enthusiasm.

The idea of taking vacations is relatively new in our world.  I’m pretty sure that my ancestors who came to these shores in 1737 never had one–they were too busy just trying to stay alive.  That’s the way the most people lived for most of history.  Some still live that way.  I think about that and feel sort of lazy for taking time off when there is still work to do.  And then I remember Jesus.

Now we couldn’t say that Jesus took vacations as you and I understand that term, but Scripture does give us more than one instance in which He went off to be alone with His Father in prayer and meditation.  And while the Lord taught His disciples whenever He could, He did take them away on several occasions from the crowds and the ministry they did among them.

Don’t get me wrong–Jesus doesn’t tell me to go take 2 weeks at the beach.  But what He does model for me and for you is the need we all have to put down our tools and rest in the arms of God.  The Lord who made us and shared for a brief time this body we inhabit, understood the importance of rest for anyone who has hard work to do–whether that is physical labor, mental labor, or simply showing love to our neighbors.  Without rest our work will be subpar and it will end early.  The word “burnout” was coined in the 20th century, but it existed long before that.

So I encourage everyone to find a place and a time where you can relax and feel the presence of the Lord anew.  And when He has refreshed you with the living water that will never dry up, then you can be His good and faithful servant.

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Filing

I hate filing.  It’s boring and I can always find an excuse for doing something more “important.”  So for quite some time, rather than filing my sermons neatly in appropriate folders I’ve just been dropping them in a drawer, rendering them fairly useless if I want to look up something that I may have already said–or just about anything else for that matter.  So I’ve hired my granddaughter to put my files in order.

This got me thinking about what else I may be failing to keep in order.  Is my spiritual life organized and in the process of deepening?  Are my prayers as full as they ought to be?  Is the rest of my labor at church focused or is it just a hodgepodge like my files were?  Am I being the type of pastor God wants me to be to the people here at St. Paul’s or am I failing to be that which I should be just because I’m too lazy to do what needs doing?

My wife and I are going on vacation next week and I want to spend some time pondering how I can be a better servant, a better pastor, a better subject of the King of kings.

Now I suspect many who read this are just as likely as I am to avoid unpleasant tasks.  No one wants to do boring things and no one, especially, wants to do hard things.  But putting them off just makes more trouble down the road, and there won’t always be someone like my granddaughter to pick up the slack.  So here are a few questions for you to ask yourself this week:

+How go things with your soul?  Is your life a good reflection            of the life of a follower of Jesus?                                                            +What work for God and His people have you been putting              off?                                                                                                                  +Are you simply drifting in your spiritual life, showing up on            Sunday for church but not doing to much else?                              +Are you praying for anything other than your self and your          immediate loved ones?

There are a lot of other questions you could ask, but you get the idea.