Mark 6:30-32 – “The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) 32 They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.” NASU
There was a time in Christian ministry that I somehow mistakenly formed the opinion that the work was too pressing for me to take a break and when I did I would feel guilty for taking time away from the work. I could not rest away from the field of labor. I found it difficult to fully enjoy rest and relaxation for thinking of all that needed to be done, the people needing to be ministered to, and the opportunities missed in my absence. One day that changed when a very senior minister came to me with this passage and said, “Son, I need to be obedient to the LORD and help you understand something about ministry and life.” My deep respect for him caused me to listen and thank God I did.
In the course of our conversation he related several stories about minsters losing their families because they were doing exactly what I was doing. He related to me a couple of situations where the minister became so ‘burned out’ that they lost their faith and became so bitter that they hated the church and all it stood for. He then told me that while he knew my heart was right my actions were wrong and that even Jesus took a break from time to time. There is much more to the story but long story short he got my attention and caused me to go to the LORD in prayer and begin to carefully examine scripture about this subject and the Holy Spirit changed my mind, attitude, and actions.
Truthfully if you so completely immerse yourself in your ministry or vocation that you cannot relax and recharge your batteries you will ‘burn out’ or ‘burn up’ and become so spent that you are not effective or as effective as you could be. The danger I wanted to avoid was swinging the pendulum too far to the other side. I have seen ministers so guard their ‘away time’ that they ignore true emergency situations. Life or death situations whether spiritual or natural cannot be ignored and if you give up your break to address one of those, God will help you find another time to get away and become refreshed.
I have had people tell me I haven’t had a vacation in ten years and I usually say, “Why not?” If it is finances that, does not mean you cannot have a break only you cannot go on a trip. I had a minister tell me that he never saw his son play ball because he was too busy in the church. I suggested that while he was excelling in one dimension of his purpose he was failing in another and a very important one. If God has allowed children to be a part of your life they are your responsibility to teach and train them in the right way and ignoring them is not going to get the job done.
It is possible to become so busy with busyness that you become ineffective and your busyness becomes busywork not real ministry. So I encourage you to learn to ‘take a break’ no matter what you are doing. Ultimately you will be better served, more effective and so will your work. Blessings as you go through your day!