Leaning on a Shovel

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I live in farm culture.  A place where there is a strong ‘gitter done’ mentality.  If you’re not sweating then your not working.  Infact, the idea of taking a rest, a hiatus, or especially a sabbatical is a foreign concept. Nobody wants to be that guy that was caught leaning on his shovel.  There is some truth in that mentality. It is healthy to steer clear from laziness and to have a strong work ethic, but if a person never takes a break then eventually they themselves will be the one who breaks.

In college a couple of my roommates called me “Busy Biz” because I was always on the go, hoping to accomplish something for Jesus.   Ministry became my obsession.  I was always dreaming and even daring to push the boundaries, but after 14 years ministry began to lose it’s joy.  I had a resume full of places I had gone and people I had ministered to, but it started to feel like a duty rather than a joy.  The thrill of following Christ had faded.   My emotions had gone raw.  My wife took notice of my ministry fatigue and she began to encourage me to take a short break from ministry (a sabbatical).  I initially laughed at the thought of taking an extended break, but she was persistent, and she won the tug-a-war match.

I spent 40 days disengaged from ministry.  I still came up with a plan of things to do like: study my Bible, get healthy, cherish my family, house work, etc. But anything ministry related was out.  No sermons.  No planning.  No dreaming.  It was super hard at first because I felt like I was leaning on my shovel.  But looking back it was one of the best things I have ever done.  It gave me a fresh perspective and rekindled my heart for God an ministry.  Its not the easiest thing for us driven types to do, but now something I plan to do every 7 years (Deuteronomy 31:10).

Why? Because in the long run it makes me stronger and my ministry healthier.

Are you one of those types who keeps pushing hard?  Has it brought you to a place where you are starting to feel your passion fizzle?  If that’s you then maybe its time to take a break and lean into God.