Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vacation: privilege or responsibility?

This is my office today. It's been my "office" for the last five weeks. The church I serve has graciously  allowed me to "bank" vacation time from one year into the next, so that when I leave for France, I'm able to be away for six whole weeks! That is so huge and is such a privilege!
But this summer I have been with pastors in both France and Egypt who do not have this luxury I have. I know pastors in Kenya and Congo who cannot imagine this kind of privilege. I have good friends back home who have high demand jobs in high-stress industries. There is no way they could ever be gone this long and still have a job when they get back! I'm aware of people who live from paycheck to paycheck, single parents and the working poor, for whom this kind of idea is almost nonsense.
A recurring observation I have beenmaking this summer, especially among the pastors I have had conversations with is how exhausted, depleted, distracted and beaten up they feel. During time is chaos and stress (like Egypt) they are constantly in demand, needed to pray, lead, and teach. When I asked on pastor how he finds refreshment, he said that in these extraordinary times it comes as a special grace from God. I believe him. He is not making excuses for an undisciplined life.
But for the rest of us, who have some control over our time, why don't we stop? Why don't we rest? Why are we always on and always available? One of the discoveries I made this summer is the "off" button. I'm on because I turn off the "off" button and make myself available. I'm on because I allow another meeting to be scheduled and another night to be taken up.
Last time I was in France God asked me a question: Why do you preach what you refuse to do? When I inquired what that was, God pointed me to sabbath rest. I have made myself over my 30+ years in ministry to important to take rest...sometimes not really believing God that I can stop and rest because my work is too demanding and too important.
Where will you rest? When will you rest? How will you rest?


At 5:30 AM , Blogger Traveller said...

good post. some types though--so sometimes hard to follow the idea...

At 5:31 AM , Blogger Traveller said...

ha, "typos" in mine too--"types" should be "typos" :o)


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