The book of Ecclesiastes is a good model for life reflection. It also asks us to think about what all our work and striving is for — if not for the Kingdom of God, then what? Many think that relaxing and enjoying life goes against our call as Christians to bring people to the Kingdom. I contemplate that we require joy, relaxation and fruit within our lives to attain a measure of peace, so we are able to achieve such labor for God; otherwise we become bitter and burned out.
I recall a season where our church staff and members were required to be at church several nights a week to “serve God.” What ended up happening was burnout and the loss of true godly fruit. It is in the moments of relaxation and life reflection that we can refuel to do and be who God has called us to be.
I sit now writing from an island in Italy. The people here live a slower pace. The background I come from, and have lived in for the past decade in ministry, calls for striving and hard work. While I believe in both, I know that it is in the moments of change, seeking truth, and asking God what He has called me to do as His child and His minister, that I have found focus.
My call is unique as all of our calls are. I will never find or attain this calling through living in unhealthy situations and allowing others to advise me of what my call is. I will always seek wise, godly counsel. But after that, I answer to God and no one else. Each of us must know what God is asking of us — in obedience unique ministries are attained and used for God’s glory. Sometimes that means being a better parent and example to our own family, which cannot happen if we are overly stressed with a full calendar.
As I enjoy a slower pace for the next couple of weeks, I see that my life has not been balanced. I need God’s tranquillity and His direction — neither can be attained through constant pressure and exhaustion.
I pray that each of you will take a moment to consider your own life schedule. Is there time for serenity and contemplation? Is there a necessity for change in any area, so that you may be a better parent, spouse, friend or servant of God?
This is a vital issue for all of us to consider.