Making Time for Down Time in Ministry
Mark 6:7-32 KJV
(7) And He called unto Him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
(8) And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
(9) But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
(12) And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
(13) And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
(30) And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
(31) And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
(32) And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
Oftentimes, people in ministry fail to recognize that they need time to regroup and recharge. Without scheduled periods of down time for restoration and recuperation, there will be unscheduled periods of “downtime,” borrowing a term from the technology realm.
Not only do those who minister to others need to take a break for physical and mental reasons, but they also need to take special time to recharge spiritually as well. It is not a sin or an act of laziness to set aside time for recharging. If anything, the opposite is true: a failure to set aside sufficient periods to be physically and spiritually regenerated will likely lead to breakdowns in health or serious spiritual challenges which could have been avoided. There are also implications for those with families – being always on the go will eventually lead to problems with relationships.
God expects His people to be wise – after all, He is the source of their wisdom – and they exercise wisdom and prudence by scheduling necessary breaks which will enable them to be more effective when they return to action. Keeping a grueling schedule might allow one to feel pious and zealous of the cause of God, but the damage that can occur without the necessary breaks could be very difficult to undo.
Let us endeavor to make time for rest and make time for work, and do both in the right season. Otherwise, we might find ourselves out of commission for longer than desired, due to intemperance of scheduling.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: