In ministry, we pour out hard to bring change into people's lives. We run long and hard for the sake of making the gospel known. We stretch ourselves, persevere and seldom rest. However, when we look at Jesus' life, He modeled a life of rest in the Father.
As ministers of the gospel we have much demand put on us on a daily basis, (some are self-invited). We push our bodies and work long hours. We answer phone calls and minister to others while sometimes compromising our own spiritual walk. As servants of a Most High King, we should model what our King Jesus did and separate ourselves unto the Father for a period of time or short season of rest.
Society doesn't teach about resting in the Lord. Workaholic mentalities don't allow it. But, the Bible speaks of it. One thing I have always admired about Jesus is that, after ministering, He went alone to be with the Father.
- Matt. 14:23 says, "When He sent the crowds away, He went up into a mountain by Himself to pray. And when evening came, He was there alone."
- Matt. 26:42 says, "He went away a second time and prayed, 'O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.'"
- Matt. 26:44 says, "So leaving them again, He went away and prayed the third time, saying the same words."
- Mark 14:39 says, "Again He went away and prayed the same words."
I began this practice early in my ministry. I would actually write in my calendar, "Kathy's day off," the next day following a ministry trip. I would take the day off, sit on my living room floor with my worship music playing and Bibles spread out for study. I would worship, pray and study and get refilled and bask in His presence.
When you look at the Bible, it doesn't say how long or what was the time frame that Jesus went away. It says He went away. He knew the importance of being with the Father. As a pastor, leader or someone who is always ministering are you taking time away? Have you set aside and carved out time in your day, week or month to simply be alone with the Father?
We cannot keep pouring out without filling up. God wants to instruct us. He desires to give us fresh ideas and concepts. He longs to teach us and impart to us new giftings, anointings and revelations of His Word. We get caught up and so busy, we don't take time out for Him and the ways He wants to increase in our lives. We can't always hear among all the busyness, and therefore sometimes we need to take time away so He can direct us.
It is vital to our spiritual life and future ministry that we are with Him. Pastors leave the pulpit because of burnout. Men and women leave the fivefold office because of being overworked and running 24/7. Ministry leaders have been diagnosed at a high rate of having hypertension because of the stress involved in running a ministry and the fatigue that happens to their physical bodies in the process. Not only do we need rest and solitude for our spiritual filling, but also for our emotional and physical health. We can't keep running hard and long for the Lord if we don't rest in His presence.
Rest, not work. Resting is reading the Bible for your enjoyment and to learn from, not for sermon prep. You can't rest while researching for a sermon, then your mind is always going. Resting, getting alone to be with Him can be uncomfortable. Thoughts such as; "What will I do?" "I don't like to be alone" or "How do I fill all that time?" will run through your mind.
Yes, it can raise different feelings when you think of being alone with the Lord, but it is great. Whether I am alone in my living room for an entire day or slipping away to a cabin to have a quiet retreat with the Lord for a few days; it is great! The intimacy, impartation and peaceful rest that comes upon me is indescribable. One of the greatest things about that time alone with Him is that it makes me a better mother, wife, friend and leader. It refreshes my soul and feeds my spirit. It quiets my mind down and refocuses me.
I encourage you this day to carve aside an hour or two where you shut off the phone, turn off the TV and sit in the presence of the Lord and allow Him to direct your time. I hope you will be so blessed in those precious moments with your heavenly Father that you decide to slip away for a day before ministering or even a couple of days to get a spiritual retreat for yourself.
You can't minister effectively to the kingdom if you are burned out because of the kingdom. Therefore, take care of you, so you can take care of others in return.
Kathy DeGraw is the founder of DeGraw Ministries. She is a prophetic deliverance minister who is passionate about releasing the love and power of God. She travels hosting conferences, teaching schools and evangelistic love tours. Kathy enjoys writing and is the author of several books that educate, empower and equip people, including A Worship Woven Life. To be in contact with Kathy visit degrawministries.org.
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