Saturday, October 2, 2010

Time to Take a Break

     John Piper (the Pastor of a very large church in Minneapolis, Minnesota), announced in March of this year that he was taking an eight month sabbatical from preaching, speaking, and writing.  The sabbatical began in May and will continue through December 31st, 2010.  You can read his official statement at this link: john pipers upcoming leave .  This includes no book-writing. No sermon preparation. No preaching. No blogging. No Twitter. No articles. No reports. No papers. And no speaking engagements.  Instead, he would use the time to invest in his relationship with his wife and family.  He basically said that he needed the time to do some spiritual soul searching and resting without the pressures of ministry.  This is a pretty big event in the life of his church and his ministry.  It was also the first one that I have ever heard about to this magnitude. 

I don't know a lot about John Piper myself.  I have really only become familiar with him over the past two years.  But I do know that the life of a full time Pastor/arthur/international speaker is a stressful one for them and their family.  Indeed, many times it is the family that suffers the most.  Think about the big names in ministry and social justice.  Both Billy Graham and Martin Luther King Jr.  spent more than twenty days out of each month traveling and speaking all over the world.  Both of these men left wives and children at home to fend for themselves while they did what they believed God was leading them to do.  This leaves a major strain on a family.  I have also watched local pastors wear themselves out on a daily basis for the sake of their calling.  Even without traveling extensively, most Pastors I know are on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.   Some of them even sleep in their offices at the church sometimes because they stay at the office working so late into the night.

And the danger of overworking yourself while neglecting your family doesn't just exist in ministry.  The business world creates the same type of workhorse as well.  The average NFL coach works a twenty hour day!  The average US worker probably works a fifty or sixty hour week as well.  While we are chasing after the brass ring at work, we are allowing the garden of our homes to be overgrown with the weeds of stress and frustration without us being there to tend them.  Again, I have seen these examples in person where one spouse is away on business constantly while the other spouse stays at home taking care of the rest of the family.  If left unchecked, this constant stress will lead to affairs, divorce, or resentment by one or both parties. 

Genesis 2:2 shows us that God rested on the seventh day after the creation.  Luke 5:16  shows us that Jesus took time out to rest and refocus after teaching and healing the people.  If the Father and the Son can find time to rest; then certainly we can as well.  Don't get me wrong, not everyone will like the fact that you take a break.  On many occassions, the disciples and others would get upset with Jesus for not being available when they thought he should be there.  Martha (the sister of Lazarus) told Jesus to His face that her brother would not have died if He would have been there in time.  But Jesus knew the importance of taking time away.  We should use His example in our own lives.  Make sure that you take time out to nurture your garden.  Others may not like it.  But the gardens of your life will be so much healthier as a result.

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike

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  1. I am happy that this pastor is taking a break. He needs to. His family is important and there is a thing called balance. He's not married to the ministry, he married his wife. It will be interesting to see what things he learned when he comes back. That would be something that I would like to read about! Church ministry will wear you out and even kill you if you let it. As one in the ministry, I know.