Encouragement, Leadership, Prayer

Sitting by the Lake: The Value of Rest

Internally, we know that a church, a ministry, a business cannot be built on one person or personality alone. In 1991, after surveying 1,000 pastors, the Fuller Institute of Church Growth reported the following:

–       50% felt unable to meet the demands of the job, and 84% felt that their training was inadequate

–       70% reported working more than 60 hours per week, and 45% did not take a regular day off

–       53% averaged five to six hours of sleep each night

–       85% spent two or less evenings home per week, yet 73% stated that they had no close intimate relationships beyond their spouse

–       80% believe that ministry negatively affects their family

–       40% reported serious conflict with a parishioner monthly

–       37% confessed an inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church

–       50% admitted they had considered leaving the ministry in the last 30 months

ImageWhile those stats seem alarming, Jesus has a prescription for the weary, the burdened. He said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt 11:28, 29) Jesus did take time away, time off for reflection, for refocus and for rest. In Matthew thirteen, verse one we are told that He left the house he was staying in and “sat by the lake”. Jesus, not unlike you and me, knew the value and the refreshment of sitting by a body of water. Later in the next chapter, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place (V. 13) and again by the end of this same chapter He dismissed His disciples and went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When Jesus and His disciples were worn out from ministering He said, “…Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 31b) I love that the Son of God was an example to us in the area of rest and spending time with His Father. Where is your “lake” and in what ways are you resting?


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