As leaders, rest is integral. And not just having a relaxed night in or going to bed early, but spiritual soul replenishing rest. Being able to rest, and resting well, allow you as a leader to be spiritually refreshed, motivated and allows you to outlive your capacity every Youth night. It is a spiritual discipline that we must own as our responsibility to practice and make it a priority in our lives. A leader lacking in rest is a leader on an empty tank. Without it, we run the risk of the age old ‘burn out’, which leaves our leadership stagnant and ineffective as well as forcing us to be dangerously close to complacency. I think as leaders we can be united in the fact that we do not want to fall under this. Not only will our serving be feeble, but also our own personal walk with God may suffer.
Here are some methods on how to adequately execute spiritual rest:
1. Always draw from the well
There is a lot we can learn from the story of Mary and Martha. Long story short, Jesus was over for dinner, Martha was caught up in all the preparations for the dinner, whereas Mary took a ‘time out’ and actually sat at Jesus’ feet and talked to him. Sometimes, we are guilty of being a Martha. Caught up in the business of serving and leading, we forget to actually spend some time with Jesus. Although serving and leading are important, it is, dare I say, more important to draw from the well that is Jesus. He calls Martha out on it; “few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better”. (Luke 10: 42) It is our direct responsibility as leaders to find rest by sitting at Jesus’ feet. Participating in this not only allows us to feel renewed, but also provides a gateway for Jesus to speak into our lives, challenge our leadership, and push us to grow. Rest is important, but rest done right. We can have an easy night in but still feel the fatigue; the only way to eradicate this is to spend some time with Jesus, which is what he calls us to do.
2. Rest comes with being utterly satisfied with what has been done
Tim Keller’s sermon on ‘Work and Rest’ touches on this beautifully. He stresses the importance of ‘Sabbath rest’, for not only leaders, but all Christians. To practice rest as a spiritual discipline, is to practice the notion of being satisfied with what has been achieved. Spiritual rest comes with being satisfied. He draws on this point by making note of Creation in Genesis. When God made the world in 6 days, he proclaimed it as ‘good’. However, on the Sabbath when God went to rest, he looked at what he had created and confessed that it was ‘very good’. God was satisfied and then he rested. As leaders we need to acknowledge that the work and effort we put in every Youth night is good. This is how we achieve sufficient rest of the spirit. However, don’t let that satisfaction lead to complacency. As a leader, it is always about doing more, growing more and going from strength to strength.
3. Time Management
From a practical point of view, we need to actually be intentional about making time in our week to find spiritual rest. It is all about time management and being aware of what is on that week, and finding time to spend with Jesus. Also, don’t just ‘slot’ this in when it is convenient. Time with Jesus should be our number one priority, especially above our leadership. Also, it is not about compromising our leadership either. We don’t ‘pull out’ of our responsibilities so we can achieve this rest, but we find a balance. Without this, we risk becoming burnt out and stale and the ramifications of this may even cost us our leadership position.
Article Written by: Kirsty De Rozairo