Forced Sabbath   Leave a comment

image.pngThere are times when circumstances force you to rest. The present crisis is doing precisely this for many around the world. As one who advocates for good self-care, particularly for clergy, I have mixed feelings over what I’m about to say.  Maybe this is what you need. No, that is not a reference to the pandemic nor is it meant to be insensitive to those who have lost so much because of it. In the life of pastoral ministry, over-functioning is far too common. Servants want to serve, and servant leaders want to serve and lead. When the offices are nearly empty and the phone isn’t ringing and nobody is stopping by even to say, “hello,” we struggle.

Some, like me, are doing more work at home than the office now because it just makes more sense. If our primary role is now phone work, emails, maybe some online recording, etc., there is not much need for office work other than to get the mail and ensure the basic functions keep operating.

When working from home, some ministers add guilt to their emotional baggage since they feel restricted from doing what they love most – interacting with people. Some deal with primarily older congregations and have the phone as their primary source of contact because other methods are just not practical for their flock.

So we are forced to do the one thing we do not always do well–rest!

Continue to make those needed connections in whatever manner is best. Continue to increase your prayer time for your flock in a time of tremendous uncertainty. But also cherish this opportunity to do much less. I am convinced this is not God’s way of forcing you to practice Sabbath rest. But I am also convinced that God wants you take advantage of the opportunity to add more rest to your routine. You’ll be running around in full spin cycle again soon enough.

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