Last week reminded followers of Jesus the price paid to welcome them. A high price. The price of Christ’s life was given. Last week people reflected, remembered, and rejoiced at the end of the story. An end—as good narratives allow—that’s actually a beginning.
The pastors and all those who helped churches and ministries emphasize last week’s meaning might feel this new beginning differently. They might feel exhausted after Easter ended. The work given, the effort offered, the energy spent: they might need a sabbath. Our church culture offers little emphasis on that topic, but we push the promotion and promote the push. We like momentum. Pure motives can cause poor results when driven too hard. Rest can be left out. Easter can end and leave pastors ready for rest.
In my book Pause for Pastors: Finding Still Waters in the Storm of Ministry, I offer these suggestions:
I like to be consistent, and unpredictable—only in particular ways. But, even when I don’t like a balanced diet of both, I need them. I need them both in ways I don’t always want.
How do I need them? Not just professionally in my pastoral role, blending my regular routine with a shocking surprise. I need them personally.
I need to hide away and be with God consistently and in unpredictable ways. I need it often and fresh. I need the irregular regularly. I need to take my normal routine of busyness and plan a Sabbath. I need to rest during a hurry and smile for a moment, surprising myself by being amazed at life itself.
How does it work for you? How can you find that balance of life, which pursues to, at times, be vigorously out of balance?
From 1 Corinthians 15:58, reflect on how you can personally give yourself fully to the work of the Lord—but do not concentrate just on “work” meaning your vocation. Consider your personal life, and seek to apply that in consistent, unpredictable ways.
Reflect on those thoughts. Read them slowly. Easter ended. Your energy might feel it’s also finished. Yes, contact people. Yes, invite them to return. But return to your own First Love. Schedule time to rest. Renew yourself and remember why you do what you do. It will help you come to life again.