10.7 MINISTRY IS LIKE Mountain Biking – Sabbath

As I have been learning how to be more of a serious mountain biker on legitimately challenging trails in the Ozarks, I have noticed many situations that have principles similar to what would be applicable in ministry. This series highlights some of the things I am learning along the way.

When the weather is right, even a casual mountain biker can get almost addicted to to riding.  What does this look like? The trails are dry, but not dusty. The weather is warm but not hot.  The sun is shining, and continues to for days.  These are almost perfect conditions.  It’s so much fun that you want to ride daily.  You might try and squeeze in a ride before work or over the lunch hour.  You might even figure out a way to get others to go with you while you put off some other tasks that probably need to be done.  It’s similar to any addiction in it’s early stages.  You don’t think you need it, but it’s becoming a near non-negotiable activity in your life.

A friend of mine shared that last fall he had gone mountain biking daily for nearly two weeks, and his body started feeling constantly tired and achy. Tom owns his own business and though he works very hard, he has the ability to tweek his schuedule to allow for mountain biking at prime times. So he did.  Over and over, day after day.  He couldn’t wait to go ride again, and continue to experience the breeze and the thrill of catapulting down the side of a mountain while you steer carefully to protect your life.

One day he realized something, his body needed rest.  It was tired and hurting. His muscles and back were aching far more than usual, and not getting better.  So, on a day with perfect riding conditions when he didn’t need to be working, he stayed home instead.  He may have taken a nap or tooled around the house.  I remember him using the word “restored” to describe how much better his body felt afterwards.  He gave it a sabbath. The result that he was able to start riding again the next day, and enjoyed it even more.

As ministry leaders, we usually love the bulk of our job duties.  So much so that in many cases we are working far above and beyond what might be expected in a secular job where hourly wages or total sales are calculated.  Yet sometimes, we can be just like Tom and his mountain biking.  We enjoy serving Jesus so much that we are guilty of not giving our minds (and bodies in many cases) a break from the grind.  We know better, but we sometimes don’t acknowledge our need to stop and sabbath too.

There is a big difference between leisure and sabbath.  When you take days off from ministry work, make sure you don’t fill all of them with busy leisure activities. To rest, one must slow their pace.  By taking a true day of sabbath each week, you will likely be a better leader, spouse, and parent.

Make sure you make time to take a sabbath each week, and rest.


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