My wife (Lori) and I just took a vacation–the first since 2019. We both have had our Covid Vaccine shots, and a return to some form of normalcy included taking a vacation.
Jesus said, “Come apart…and rest a while…” (Mark 6:31). I remember hearing a pastor years ago saying, “Come apart or you will come apart.”
Under the Old Covenant, God gave His people Israel the Sabbath, a time of rest. The picture of coming into a relationship with Jesus involves resting from our dead works of trying to earn our salvation and coming into a spiritual rest with Jesus.
Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Hebrews 4:9-10 says, “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.”
Salvation itself is a Sabbath. Yet people still need rest, such as a good night’s sleep and periodic breaks from their usual routines.
As a pastor, my vacations were difficult. In the early years of our marriage, much of my vacation was spend studying for upcoming sermon series and thinking about what was happening back at church. I have had times in which I traveled back to the church field to do a funeral. Lori helped me to lay some of my burdens aside and to enjoy my vacations.
At this point I have a break from vocational ministry. It’s amazing to go on a vacation and not have to think about what’s happening back at the church. I still don’t know if I have a great plan for sharing with pastors how to actually take a break and be able to enjoy a vacation.
I do think congregations are generally more aware of the need for church leaders to take a break and enjoy a vacation. Also, I think the younger generation of ministers are more assertive about their needs and the needs of their families. I, on the other hand, failed to be assertive on many occasions. It can be helpful for other church, denominational, or network leaders to speak up for pastors and staff to have some uninterrupted time away from their church duties. This will increase their productivity.
Come apart, or you will come apart.
Ashton C. Smith, Certified Church Consultant