Thursday, February 23, 2012
Rhythm of the Life...
In my years in ministry, short though they be, I have noticed a trend among my colleagues and many church folk while engaged in water cooler talk. The conversation usually starts innocently enough:
"How are things going at church?"
"Oh, they're going great. We had nearly 100 in worship Sunday, and the offering was huge! What about you?"
"Well, not so good, actually. We only had 48 in worship and we're struggling to pay the bills."
Now, of course that's not the only conversations my colleagues and I, or the folks under our spiritual care, have when it comes to discussions on the church. However, what I have found as lacking, (and I'm not the only one, nor is this by any means a new idea,) is this: Rarely does the conversation shift to a Mark 6 kind of discussion. Perhaps it's because we know, deep down in our cores, that we are not living Mark 6 lives. We have lost, often times, the Rhythm of the Life and the results can be devastating.
Some may argue this, but I am pretty well convinced that Jesus was no dummy, and the more I read William Barclay, the more I'm becoming convinced that he, also, was no dummy. Today's devotional hit me hard.
"There are two dangers in life...First there is the danger of a too constant activity...Second there is the danger of too much withdrawal." ("The Pathos of the Crowd, William Barclay) Basically, this says that we cannot work without rest and we cannot rest without work. Sounds simple enough. The difficulty is in finding the balance.
The backdrop for today's devotional, and this blog, was Christ's invitation to the disciples after a long and tiring day of ministry. You might say, "But isn't giving yourself to the work of ministry a good thing?" Absolutely, as long as that giving of oneself is balanced with enough time in the quiet places, resting, so that the work of ministry can be Spirit led and result in God's reign being brought forth on earth.
I'm going to step out on a limb and say that I am blessed among my colleagues in that I serve a church, who is served by a committee, who recognizes the importance of finding this balance, and maintaining this rhythm of work and rest. After I report to my committee all of my comings and goings since the last time we met, and all of the work that is being done, without fail they will ask me, "And are you taking care of yourself? When are you resting?"
So colleagues, never forget that we are not so important that we can't afford to take time apart to spend with Christ in the quiet places. It's a constant struggle for me, but I am still trying to figure out how to work smarter and not just longer.
Church folks, your pastor needs time away if you expect any kind of growth in the ministry of the church. They cannot help care for your soul if they are not taking time to care for their own, it's as simple as that. Make sure that she or he is given the time...and the permission...to come into the presence of the Almighty and rediscover, or probably closer to the truth, discover for the first time the Rhythm of the Life.
"Come away with my, by yourselves, to a quiet place and get some rest."