I’ve never talked with Joe about the cartoon, but I am almost positive it was a self-portrait.
Few things in life are as draining as trying to care for the spiritual and emotional needs of people.
Fortunately, we have a Master who “knows our frame” and remembers we are made from the dust of the earth. He also knows what it is to be human and to experience the emotional toll of caring for souls.
In Luke 9 Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. Then He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal (Luke 9:1-2). When they returned from following the Lord’s direction and going to all the villages, the Lord Himself called them to “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” The next phrase gives the reason for the Lord’s call to rest: “For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:30-32).
How do you get rest from the labors of ministry or running a business or running a home? All of these are exhausting. What can you do?
First, we must recognize the problem. We have to take time to rest and recuperate. People in ministry often feel guilty for taking time off or getting rest. We simply must acknowledge our need. If our Lord needed to get away, how much more do we?
Second, we must take leisure and rest a while. Jesus told the twelve to “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest for a while.” Solitude is one of the great spiritual disciplines. It rejuvenates our souls. Vance Havner used to say: “If we don’t come apart and rest, we’ll just come apart.”
Some pastors take off after a busy weekend to rest. I certainly see the wisdom of doing that, but I take off before the busy weekend. I feel the need to rest in preparation instead of resting afterwards.
That day of rest (a Friday for me) strengthens me for the busy time ahead. If you read Luke 9 or Mark 6, you will notice that immediately after the time of rest, Jesus fed the 5,000, the only miracle found in all four gospels.
Third, we must plan for leisure. If you wait until no one needs you, you will never get away. You must take the initiative to plan for those days and weeks when you will determine to “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.”
Finally, we must feed our souls. What did Jesus do when He left the crowds? He often went away to pray.
I find that my morning regimen of Scripture, prayer, and meditation prepares me for the rest of the day. If I have spent the early morning with Him, I can spend the rest of the day productively with others.
I write daily about Christian Living and Pastoral Leadership. You can receive my free daily devotionals by subscribing at waylonbailey.com.