Work, Rest, Repeat

Luke 5:12-16  And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”

In this passage, we see Jesus heals a leper.  Needless to say, this was a miracle!  When’s the last time you healed a leper?  Jesus was in a “league of His own” when it came to performing miracles and healing people.

Now, maybe I’m different from everyone else, but I still believe in miracles.  I believe we serve a God Who is still in the miracle-performing business!  He’s all powerful and almighty!  He can do it all!  What a God!

I preached a sermon recently about this fact.  Afterward, someone came to me and asked “What’s the last miracle you’ve seen, preacher?”  I looked at the individual and said “I’m living a miracle, brother.”  The fact that there’s a God in Heaven Who would send His Son to die for someone like me is a miracle.  The fact that He called me to pastor a church and preach is a miracle.  The fact that there are people who will give of their time and effort to be at church to hear me preach is a miracle.  The fact that we can tell people about Christ’s sacrifice and His unending love toward us is a miracle.  The fact that I have a roof over my head and shoes on my feet and a little bit of money in the bank is a miracle.  God is good all of the time!

Friends in the ministry, we have the opportunity to work miracles through Jesus Christ!  A teenager who came in on the bus to Sunday school might need someone to love him/her.  To this teenager, you’re a miracle!  When you have the wonderful privilege to lead someone to the Lord… this is a miracle! Jesus is still performing miracles, brother!  And the fact that He’s using us is a BIGGER miracle!

Now, we’ve established that we are able to love and serve a God who performs miracles.  What a blessing that is.  I want to draw your attention to what Jesus does after performing several miracles.  He’s healed Peter’s mother-in-law (chapter 4), He’s brought forth the miraculous draught of fish (5:4-7), and He’s just healed the leper (text).  No doubt, this was a busy day!  The need to take a break was real.  Jesus Christ then withdraws Himself from the people into the wilderness and prays (5:16).

What can we learn from this?  The lesson is this: Ministry work, whether full-time, bi-vocational or volunteer, can be tiring.  If we could interview a hammer after a wood-worker’s long day of work, I’d imagine the hammer would want a break!  Just as the hammer is a tool in the hand of the person, we are tools in the hands of God.  When God chooses to work through us, it is a wonderful thing; but also a tiring thing!  God performs miracles through people like you and I on a daily basis.  It’s a great honor and privilege… but it can be exhausting!

Friends, please remember to pace yourself.  There is no shame in resting and taking a break.  We need to renew and refresh from time to time.  Our phones and laptops are wonderful tools, but they will not perform without a recharge once in a while.  Jesus tells the apostles to “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a while” in Mark 6:31. We need to rest.  We need to renew and recharge.  If we continuously plug along in the work of the Lord, we will get burnt out, frustrated and stressed.  I’ve seen several pastors take a ministry and only last 2-3 years.  Many of them will tell you that they didn’t even take one family vacation.

Friends, for the sake of your family and the Lord’s work, please remember to rest once in a while.  I’m not saying be lazy and never work.  I’m saying remember the rule of the battery: It’s good to work for a time, but there’s also a time to recharge and rest.

If you continue reading in Mark 6, where I referenced earlier, you’ll see that Christ told His disciples to rest.  Why?  Because, shortly after He says this, we see one of the biggest miracles in the New Testament.  The work of the Lord never stops.  You will always have a ministry to organize, souls to be saved, people to teach, and floors to be mopped.  There will never be a shortage of work!  What we can’t have is a shortage of workers to work the work!  Matthew 9:37-38 “Then saith he unto his disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

We need Christian workers.  We need servants.  We need preachers.  We need teachers.  We need soul-winners.  There’s plenty of work!  Brethren, learn to rest and recharge.  Don’t burn out.  Take a break, and then “lace up the gloves” for another round of miracles!  Keep plowing!

 

Joey Pearson

Maranatha Baptist Church

Newburgh, Indiana