Have you ever felt guilty for taking a break? For stopping? For resting?
In the fast paced, demanding world that we live in, rest seems almost contrary to the way we are to be.
Have you ever wondered:
Will people think I am lazy?
If I disengage what will I miss? Or will the things I typically do get done?
Will I lose my competitive edge, will I be less effective?
If I stop, will people forget me and move on?
Do we secretly glorify the people who seem to do it all, no matter the cost? Or worse yet, expect that of them?
After a very busy time of ministry, physically, emotionally and spiritually, the disciples gathered around Jesus to tell him all they had done and taught. The Bible tells us that even after they returned from their exhausting journey, people would still be “coming and going,” enough that the disciples “did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6: 31). I love what Jesus says to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”
It was a very clear instruction. Come. Not, “think about it”. Not, “It would be a good idea if you…” or “I suggest…”.
He said, Come with me… and rest a while.
Jesus knew that we can get so busy doing things for God that we neglect our primary relationship with Him! Come with me… and rest a while.
The command to “rest” isn’t just for our benefit. Nor is it a guilty pleasure we have to sneak. Instead, we should consider rest as a grace-filled reminder that we are beings of clay dependent on a much stronger God. As our energy levels dwindle (and they will), God promises, “Come to me… and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
This year marks seven wonderful years at Amberlea. They have been busy ministry years, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Rather than continue to run at an unsustainable pace I have decided to heed the words of my Saviour and “rest a while”.
So this summer I will be taking an Inter-Mission through to October 7th.
What is an Inter-Mission? I am glad you asked.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada provides for ministers to take an Inter-Mission. An Inter-Mission is approved by both Session and Presbytery. This is how it is defined in the Acts and Proceedings 1992 p. 383-384:
“The Policy Committee of the Board of Ministry has been considering sabbaticals for professional church leaders in congregations. The term sabbatical means different things in different institutions but seems most widely known as an educational model. It was decided that a new term was needed. Such words as repose, sabbath, re-formation, re-creation, enrichment, sacred journey, oasis, hospice and inter-mission were all considered. The term inter-mission was chosen as it seemed to describe best what is proposed: A time to get in touch with the Holy Other in our lives. This is done in repose, in line with Jurgen Moltmann's comment about God: "The true completion of creation, however, is on the ‘seventh day', the day when God takes up active repose wherein the creation is contemplated, blessed, enjoyed and pronounced ‘very good'.
This time is to be for the sake of self, not for congregation, the Church or for acquiring academic credentials. The mode is to be that of follower, not leader.”
So with full support of the session of Amberlea and the Presbytery of Pickering, and full confidence that Amberlea church will continue to grow and prosper, I am going to rest. It is my prayer that during my time away that the Holy Spirit would refresh, renew refuel and recalibrate the various areas of my life.
I pray that you would also take time to rest and refresh this summer and that when we gather again in the Fall — as the body of Christ at Amberlea — we will be fit, ready and energized to do great things for the Kingdom!
Have a blessed, restful summer!