Do you get tired? Do you get exhausted? Do you ever feel like your bodies gas tank is empty but your life does not have time to pull over? Does your theology tell you that God is your strength in weakness? Does your Bible tell you that when you are weak, He is strong?
I have been tired. I can assume that you have as well. Life can exhaust us when we engage in it, and even when we just try to keep up. In the world of ministry, we can find ourselves extremely exhausted. Caring for our families and others can seem like the whole Kingdom of God can take the energy right out of us. It is with a tension that I believe that God will give me strength in these times.
Rest in a world of need can be next to impossible to find. When you discover the world of pain and suffering that we live in, it can feel incredibly selfish to take time away from those in desperate need of restoration. Yet a tension exists. We must rest. We must Sabbath.
As some of you know I recently returned from a mind blowing trip to India. I saw God work in ways that allowed me to experience things I have believed for years. This was wonderful. It only renewed the zeal I have for the Lord and His work. But what happened when you get tired? Is it an attack on my soul, or is it something different?
I can’t help but go to Jesus when I’m tired. Not just in terms of asking for strength, but to study how He Himself managed this weight of ministry. As I attempt to walk with him through the Gospels, one major principle sticks out that I have never learned in any leadership or ministry class. This one thing can clarify how Christ Himself managed this ministry stress.
Jesus never ran.
We could argue that Jesus was the most effective ministry person ever. I think we would win. Jesus is the standard to which we look for effective service. But even with a world of ministry at His feet, He never ran. In fact, He didn’t even take every opportunity for ministry. He turned some down flat.
While it’s hard for me to get my head around this, I must. It’s Jesus after all. But it appears that He did not live a ministry rhythm that required Him to escape. While He is tired sometimes, He never appears to be overwhelmed with weakness in terms that we experience. He seems to walk in power, not only from above, but in practical every day terms.
I believe in ministry, we too often spiritualize strength and weakness. At one point in my ministry, I found myself absolutely exhausted from ministry. Great things were happening. I had people praying for my strength to return. But even though there were prayers for me, I was close to burn out. Then one day, I had a lunch meeting with someone. The meeting went normal, but I felt like I had a new power in my life. I boldly say, it was not God that gave me a super natural level of strength I had not experienced in some time but as I reflected on the encounter, the Lord revealed to me the solution. I ate a healthy meal.
I had been living on coffee and carbs for ministry. Simply put, I believed the ministry was so vital, that I didn’t take care of myself. It only took one healthy meal and I felt like superman.
Too often we can spiritualize things that are not spiritual after all. While I may have been spiritually distracted to eat well, It was a physical and practical issue that resolved my problem. I had been running, not sleeping or eating well. But Jesus never ran. He always rested. He didn’t take every opportunity for guaranteed ministry. He simply lead a healthy practical lifestyle.
Even as I write this article, I rebuke myself. You see, I’m on holidays right now. I should be resting, and not writing perhaps. But as I strive to rest, the Lord reminded me of my need to understand rest, so I needed to write this out.
Do you live a busy life? Do you feel like you are constantly looking for a holiday, a need to escape? Perhaps, the two of us should remind ourselves that Jesus never ran. But we need to do that later, I’m on holidays. Goodbye email. Goodbye blogs. Goodbye Twitter and Facebook. See you in a week…. I hope my boss isn’t reading this… Actually I do. Take a break friend 😉