Today, I did nothing. I didn’t clean my house. I didn’t read the book I intended to finish and blog about. I didn’t do laundry. And until this very moment, I didn’t write a word. I did nothing.
I guarantee next week won’t be this way. In addition to my 8-5 job, I’ll finish preparations for the Faith’s Journey Book Launch party, bake several batches of cookies for the event, and complete all wife and mother related activities. Creating trivia night questions for a mission trip fund-raiser is on the back burner until the launch is over. That will demand all my time for the weeks after the launch. Finishing lesson material for the camp I direct every summer will wait until the weeks after I finish the trivia night questions. Sometime, in the middle of it all, I need to complete the sequel to Faith’s Journey.
There were plenty of things I could have done today. Anything from cleaning my house to working on the sequel and all the activities in between. Instead, I chose to ignore every possible activity.
I’m tempted to feel guilty over wasted time. It would be easy to stress over the things I didn’t check off my to-do list. But I’m not going to. It wouldn’t help anyway. The time is gone. It won’t come back. Tomorrow is another day. With its beginning, I will rejoin the masses and be a productive member of society. But I refuse to feel bad about today’s lack of industriousness.
Days when we don’t cater to a never-ending list of demands are needed. They work as a sort of reset button for our minds and bodies. We were created to need rest. In Genesis, God gave us the example of rest when He rested on the seventh day. He didn’t do it because He was tired. He did it, in part, to show us the importance of a day of rest. And the need to escape the noise and busyness doesn’t end with our minds and bodies. The example extends into our spiritual lives as well.
Ministry requires our time and energy. Whatever area of ministry we find ourselves in, no matter how much we love it, it can push us to our limits physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can also drain us spiritually. When we expend energy, it needs replenished. When our bodies burn calories, we have to replace them with more. Constant attention to our own spiritual life is necessary to ministering in a way that honors God. Through worship and fellowship with other believers, listening to pastors and teachers, and daily prayer and time in God’s word, we stay connected to the source of spiritual replenishment. But there are times when the ministries we are part of take more out of us than usual. In those times, and even before those times if we are wise, we will remove ourselves from the busyness and focus only on being with God. Just as He gave us the example of physical rest, God has given us the example of spiritual rest.
Jesus’ ministry on earth took place in a relatively short time span. He went from unknown son of a carpenter to healer, teacher, and miracle worker with the turning of water into wine. Crowds followed Him everywhere. Everyone needed something from Him. Those who didn’t follow Him in awe, followed Him in attempt to discredit Him. Even when the masses weren’t right beside Jesus, the disciples were. And they needed instruction as much as anyone else in the crowd, maybe even more so since they would serve as the leaders of the church after His ascension.
Jesus was God made man. He had the same needs we all experience. He knew exhaustion. He knew frustration. He knew how to handle it when the demands became too much. Luke 5:16 tells us, “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Other references to Jesus’ examples of solitude for spiritual renewal can be found in Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12, and Mark 1:35. At the most demanding time in His ministry, when Jesus was preparing to give His life for us, He prayed. Though some of the disciples went to the garden with Him, Jesus chose to go off on His own once there. He poured out His heart to His Father in solitude, and He found the strength to do what needed to be done.
As we give of ourselves in ministry, can we expect to need times of quiet solitude with God any less than Jesus?
By the Book: When was the last time you got away from the busyness of ministry and spent time simply being in God’s presence? Why is giving ourselves permission to do nothing in our daily lives and ministry hard at times? What can we take away from the examples of rest that God has given us in scripture?