We Need Rest

That was the line from Ordering Your Private World that made me stop and think on the bus ride to church this morning.
MacDonald goes on saying that this generation is a tired generation.
I think that we are even more of a tired generation since this book was written.

I constantly do see myself getting lost in all the work that is ahead of me, and forget to really be quiet and be with God.
Rest doesn’t mean just leisure fun away from work, it has to be deeper. I feel that I need to be with God, be refreshed, renewed, reaffirmed, re- everything in my call to God.

And please note this disclaimer. I am not criticizing my senior pastor. I just don’t completely agree with this aspect of his ministry: he doesn’t rest.
He is the busiest man I have ever seen.
I’ve been here for almost two years and he has yet to take a vacation or time away from church, besides going to conferences throughout the country.
That doesn’t sit well with me.
Some Korean pastors I know were proud of their feat of working 365 days a year without rest. Some were almost proud that they were able to sacrifice the welfare of their family by being at church.
I personally don’t think that’s what God had in mind when we’re called to ministry. I strongly believe that the family is the first place of ministry. And maybe that’s why we have so many Korean PKs (pastor’s kids) that go wild and crazy, because their fathers (in most cases it is fathers) were more invested in the health of the church rather then their health.
But not only that, how can one go on and on and on without giving the body and mind rest?
I find what my senior pastor is doing an amazing feat.
But how healthy can that be?
For the pastor, for the church?
I think Korean Immigrant churches also value their pastors doing things like this, not taking time off, always at church, always doing visitations, and so forth.
And I think that’s a reason why not many second generation pastors (like me) want to serve in a Korean-Immigrant church.

One of these days before the year ends, I want to take a silent retreat for a couple days, maybe even a week. I’m afraid that my request may be denied or looked down upon. 1) I’m already going to miss a month or so in the office because of my fast and 2) I don’t think the people will really understand/comprehend this time away to refresh my soul and my commitments and my love for God.
If the senior pastor doesn’t need to, why would I?

5 thoughts on “We Need Rest

  1. I really enjoyed reading Ordering Your Private World.

    I like the idea of a silent retreat! I am constantly plagued with the desire and drive to be busy! Just this morning I found myself completely unable to relax and recreate-completely!

    What kinds of spiritual or devotional practices do you have to either rest or reconnect with God outside of the busyness of life?

  2. even if the pastor isn’t perfect (no one is right?), he is kind of an example for the church. first himself then his family. even if he is totally dedicated in every way to give everything to his church, he should also devote energy to his family, i think. i know a few PKs who are crazy and although it didn’t really make me think less of the pastor, i wondered why that was. was it just rebellion or are they missing out on something at home?

    anyway i think it’s good that you are so committed and even though just started, looking to further understand and renew your relationship with God. i’ve always wanted to do a silent retreat, would be a challenge. i went without talking for a day, just cause. it was so hard!!

  3. Jim – I am enjoying the book as well. My uncle gave it to me 4-5 years ago, when he heard that i was interested in ministry and going to seminary. i finally decided to read it now.
    After Easter, I intend on going up to the mountains to a small church and go on a fast.
    Also, I think there is too much noise in my life. Everywhere I go, if I’m alone, I have my iPod on me and playing various things.

    I really like just sitting around and listening to the nature sounds around me. and basking in the Hawaiian atmosphere. It really just reminds me how small I am, and how God is in control. But I do not do that enough.

    What are somethings you do?

    Brandi – I turned out okay for a PK, right? Just a little weird and awkward, but okay…
    Anyway, I think one of the reasons may be neglect. The PKs I’ve worked with hold a bitter resentment towards church and towards God because their dads were never around when they needed them. And maybe that was the root of their rebellious ways too. But who knows? I’m just using 4-5 kids to describe millions.
    I think the ‘not talking’ part would not be that much of a problem. but for me, what I want to do is silence around me too. meaning no music constantly playing in my ear. that’s hard to even imagine!

  4. Hi. Have checked your last few posts and really appreciate the sensitivity you have to establishing good priorities for your life and ministry. I am one of those work-a-holic senior pastors who is trying to reform himself. I put days off on the calendar, but when the day comes around, I’d rather spend half of it getting some “work” done. Part of the problem is that I love what I do as a pastor, and given the choice between a round of golf and doing what I love, the golf clubs stay in the closet. But one thing I make as a priority is time with my family.

    Here’s my take: We pastors who work too much don’t have an adequate theology of God. We think God is not BIG enough to handle things without us. I know that’s a silly view of God, but operative, that’s what’s going on. God was on the job long before we arrived, and will handle it when we’re gone, so why do we think our every minute is so critical to success for God’s sake?

    The other possibility is that it’s just plain ego. We don’t want others to think we’re slack in any small way, so we give it 24/7 to prove otherwise. A too big ego is a worse problem, especially if you’re the associate.

    So, God NEVER intenede you to give 365 days a year to the ministry. Remember the Sabboth? And remember how Jesus took time away, to pray, and attend weddings, and whatever (a lot of days are not recorded). Fight the good fight of attending to your family and yourself, God is big enough to use your gifts as needed.

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