TAKE TIME TO UNWIND
No one was busier than Jesus. He had 3 years to spread His message and train others to do so. There was no other plan. Yet He often took time to relax and get away with those closest to Him (Mark 6:31). When He worked, Jesus worked hard. But He wasn’t always working. He knew everyone needs time to relax and rest. That’s why God commanded we all have a Sabbath Day of rest every seven days (Exodus 20:8-11). After feeding 5,000 men, Jesus went away to recharge (Matthew 14:23).
This is an important principle Jesus taught His followers. After Jesus returned to heaven, John the disciple lived in Ephesus, and while here he taught and led many churches, but he also raised pigeons as a hobby. One day someone questioned why he should spend so much time on his own pleasure when there was so much work to be done. John took the bow the man was carrying and asked why the string was loose and not tight. The man said if he didn’t loosen it when he wasn’t using it, the bow would lose its power when it was needed. John said that is why he took time to relax, so he would be better able to work when the time came. God does not expect us to be at work all the time, he expects us to relax and enjoy life (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). We must be good stewards of our bodies and health, and that means getting away to relax and enjoy life. It’s also important we use these times to spend with our family doing things they enjoy and having fun together.
This is a message I try to communicate to the pastors in India, but most of the ones I know seem to stay very very busy. People in India work constantly – most of them have to in order to have food and stay alive. There is so much to do that it can be hard to a break. We certainly know how that feels as well.
Many times we as Christians feel guilty if we relax and take time for ourselves or our family, yet that is very important for our future wellbeing. I have always liked to run and sometimes ran in long races. If I started off as fast as I could I would never finish. I must pace myself so I have energy left at the end. I must go at a slower pace so I can stay consistent my whole life. That’s how it is in ministry as well. Working hard every day of the week may mean we accomplish a lot for a while, but we won’t be able to keep it up. Our health and our relationships will suffer. We’ll lose energy to keep going. A good runner knows just how fast to go to cover the distance in the shortest time without having to stop before the end. The same is true of a good Christian. (January 22, 2020 Vijayawada, India)
Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
Do you set a good example to those around by working hard but also taking time to rest and relax? Do you have one day a week when you don’t work at your job or ministry but spend with your family or do things you enjoy? What do you do to relax? Do you have something you enjoy like John raised pigeons? Would God say you are keeping His command for a day of rest each week? If not, what can you start doing right now to obey Him? It can be any day, since pastors can’t rest on Sunday. The day isn’t as important as the fact you obey the principle of rest for one day each week.