Word is getting out that I am going to be taking a Sabbatical during December 2022 and January 2023. And I know that’s short notice. Sorry about that. But getting here has been a bit of a process for me.
When asked about the topic of a Sabbatical, I would always respond with something along the lines of – “I have never felt the need for one. I like what I do and don’t particularly feel the need to take a break from it”. Sure, there are times where what I do has been a lot and seasons where I am tired and all of that. But that’s most of us from time to time, right? I am glad the option is there. I don’t think less of anyone who takes one. I think they can be quite helpful.
Do you see the problem with my thoughts as stated above? They seem to indicate that a break, a rest, a time apart is some sort of last resort when it just all gets to be too much. That we should go and go and go until we just can’t go on…and then we rest. That’s just not right.
As somebody who is supposed to think of church health and pastoral health in an ongoing way, well that’s just not a helpful mindset. There is a time for everything the Scriptures tell us. To work. To rest. To pray. To play. To be renewed and restored. It’s not to work until you can’t go on and then, and only then, to take a break.
So, we come to my time to rest. To step back and take a breath. To be reminded that I am more than my job. To pray. To listen. To reset. To think and dream even. There will be time to work again.
What does all of this have to do with you and your life and your church faithful reader? Well, there is a time for everything. We need to make sure that some of that everything is built into our rhythms. As you pursue all that God calls you do be and do, make sure that you are making time for all of it. There is work and there is serving. But there is also family. And friends. And rest. And recreation. And fun and laughter. There is prayer and listening to God. There is Sabbath. Make time for people who matter and be fully present with them. Make time for Your Heavenly Father. Lean into Him and listen well. Then obey relentlessly. Take time to pursue those things that bring you joy. Work as unto the Lord. Step into all that God has in a way that allows you to be healthy as you follow Him.
Understand that there is a time for everything as you are part of your church. Time to be busy and time to rest. Time to worship and time to serve. Time to take care of each other and time to serve the world around you. It doesn’t all have to be done tomorrow. There are things our Heavenly Father calls us too. Listen and talk and pray together to discern what time it is and live that out.
Pray for me as I take this time. I will be praying for you as well. See you in a bit.
Marc McAlister
Director of Leadership Development and Church Health, the Free Methodist Church in Canada.