Sunday, July 19, 2009

Leadership and Rest

This Monday morning devotion is back after a three week break. I spent some time away with my family for the Great American Summer Vacation! We loaded up our mini-van and headed to South Padre Island, about as far south as you can get in the continental United States without crossing over into Mexico. I had no access to email or the internet and I had spotty (at best) cell service. It was great!

I was reminded of several things on my vacation:

  • For all that a leader is, s/he is still human. We all need a season of rest in order to remain effective and good at what we do.
  • God has ordained the season of rest – it is called Sabbath.
  • God has given us a beautiful gift in creation in which we can rest.
  • Rest is work. A different kind of work.
  • Rest will never just happen, you have to be intentional about making it happen. You have to plan, schedule, make reservations, etc.
  • Rest creates memories which are priceless. Watching my children play on the beach. Riding a tube ride with my 7 year old who will only be 7 once in his life. Boogie boarding with my daughter and teenage son.
  • Rest paves the way to re-connect with family and with God.
  • Rest must have an end. Man was made to work. We are defined by who we are in Christ and what we do for Christ. If we are defined by rest we are labeled LAZY.

I am currently in the middle of some very big items with my ministry. We are in the process of all our preparation for the fall semester. We are just about to finish a 5 month strategic consult with Lifeway Church Services out of Nashville, TN. I just hired a new associate pastor who will arrive in two weeks. I am personally leading a group to Tanzania, Africa in two weeks. Our church is just 2 months away from our 75th Anniversary which will bring with it numerous special events. It's all great stuff and I am having the time of my life and the time of my ministry! But rest is hard to find and burn-out is always lurking. But if there is no rest and if burn-out sets in, the results could be catastrophic for self, family, and church.

God knew this which is why he gave us the gift of Sabbath. The concept is simple. Work six days, rest one. On top of the regular Sabbath, God also gave His people extended seasons of Sabbath wrapped around festivals. We don't celebrate these festivals today but we have replaced them with something very American. It is called vacation!

Passage for Reflection:

Exodus 20:9-10 (ESV)
9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.

"Lord, may I find my rest in You. Amen."



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