Keeping a Balance Through It All

It was a wonderful summer!  I sat by the lake in my hammock.  I completed work around our property that I have wanted to do for 10 years, but never had time to engage when we were only there for a few days.  I traveled to North Carolina for a wonderful conference and I got food poisoning on the way to the United Methodist night at the Tigers, (that last one wasn’t one I want to repeat)! It was indeed a renewing summer.  Thanks to all those who prayed for me and encouraged me during these months.

But it wasn’t all renewal.  A few times meetings, I had to attend and congregational issues in the Conference, brought me out of renewal into reality!  And the reality I speak of, we all know well.  It is the reality that life goes on.  We may have a plan, (and I hope you do), to be disconnected to rest and recuperate, but sometimes the needs of our work press in and we need to respond.  I’m guessing that at least a couple of pastors reading this article had vacations interrupted by funerals this summer.  This is a typical scenario, a leader in your congregation died and you knew you had to go back and care for that family.  By the way if you did that, you still have those days off and you need to pin them to your next vacation (have your SPRC call me if there’s any question about that).  But, the fact is, stuff happens and it doesn’t always happen on our schedule.

There is a balance here to be sure.  Some of us as clergy have an over developed sense of self-importance.  So we either never take vacations or we come back for things that others in the church could really handle.  That savior complex some of us have is not helpful and will most likely lead to LESS effectiveness as well as difficulty getting through the door because our head won’t fit!  Oh yes, I know, some churches love those pastors who do everything and never care for themselves, but it isn’t healthy and it ultimately isn’t good for the church either.  So while there are times when we appropriately work on a day off or a part of a vacation so that we can care for the needs of the people God has called us to serve, there is a balance that we must keep.

It is good to be in the office today.  I’m OK with the fact that the earliest hour appointment Liz could give to the person that called today is in October. I appreciate the work I have to do.  It’s a gift.  I have appreciated the pastors I met with today and the work they are doing on behalf of the kingdom of God.  Work is a gift.  Rest is a gift.  There is a balance in it all.

It’s been a wonderful summer!  It’s going to be a wonderful fall!  Thanks be to God.