Believe it or not, Pastors/Planters are busy people. My Dad was a pastor and I remember him always having somewhere to be or meeting w/ someone or studying, or at the hospital, or giving someone counsel, or… You get the idea right? He was a busy man! But he passed away when I was 12 years old so I kinda forgot how busy he really was over the years. For the past 2 years, I have been stretched out. I’m not complaining, I’ve had a wonderful time obeying God and experiencing His mighty power! We have witnessed extraordinary things on this Church Planting Journey but it has been very taxing. Somewhere along the this journey and I’m not sure where I began to get off track.
Yesterday, as I was reading and seeking the Lord through His Word and other sources I ran across a short story that caused me to examine my busyness…
“Psalm 46:10 advises, “Be still and know that I am God.” We cannot know God on the run. Solitude lets our souls catch up. In the jungles of Africa, a tourist who was taking a safari hired natives from a tribe to carry all of the necessary supplies. On the first day, they walked rapidly and went far. The tourist was excited because he wanted to get there quickly. On the second morning, the tourist woke early, ready to go, but the natives refused to move. They just sat and rested. When the tourist questioned them, he was told that they had gone too fast the first day. Now they were waiting for their souls to catch up.”
I have come to realize that stress, hurry, and intense activity can cause me to lose my perspective, to disconnect from my true purpose in life. The busier I am, the more I need regular solitude. I love the Greek motto that says: “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.” I broke! One of the main reasons that I find myself broken & weak is that solitude has really never been a part of my life. To be honest– I’ve been too busy “doing” stuff and too busy being “spiritual”. Let me take this just a step further, even though one of my main motivations in life is the please my Lord, I’ve been too busy trying to earn people’s approval. I have been too busy trying to be good enough! What does good enough even look like?
Even though I am on a month long sabbatical, I fielded emails, text messages and phone calls yesterday. I ran from trying to be still to trying to please man all day. It was July 4th and I was Running, Running, Running as fast I a could. Last night I was broken.
Here is my real issue- As I try to unplug and get away each day of my life and during this sabbatical, I wrestle with it because it seems to me that I am giving up my identity. It feels like I’m giving up my whole identity because so much of who I am has been built upon what I did. I feel like people in our church will not understand and they will become frustrated if I don’t respond and try to meet their needs immediately. I really do want to be there for them but in my current condition, I am depleted myself.
So as I struggle with this guilt of not “doing” during this sabbatical and the rest of my life, I must remember the counsel that I have given to people for several years–“God is more concerned with who I am than what I do!” If I can be who God created me to be, energized by His Power, led by His Spirit, everything will be A-O-K! In fact, I was given some great counsel when I was ordained into the Gospel ministry. My friend Terry Richardson said, “Matt, you don’t have time to do everything, everyone wants you to do, but you do have plenty of time to do what God wants you to do!”
My mentor and friend Stan Jordan led our Seminary Class in prayer one night after a busy day, he said, “Lord, help us learn from your example in scripture that we never see you in a hurry!”
Waiting on my soul to catch up,