You have probably received many bulk e-mails, as I have. I don’t usually even read them, knowing that they weren’t really sent exclusively to me. I have read a few, and I’d like to share one that came to my inbox several years ago.
The e-mail was entitled “The Top Signs Your Pastor Needs a Vacation”
- You caught him snoring during the service while he was leading the congregational prayer.
- The last ten sermons had the word "rest" in the title!
- The closing hymn for the last three weeks has been, "I'll Fly Away."
- At last weekend's service he showed up in a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts!
- Before the last board meeting, brochures of exotic getaways were placed on each seat.
- The pastor’s wife posted a picture of him with the caption: "Have You Seen This Man?" all over the church!
In all seriousness, as I right this post, I am preparing to be out of the office next week in order to enjoy some of the vacation time that the church has given to me to be used throughout the year. To be honest with you, several years ago it was very difficult for me to actually take vacation time and to enjoy it. I just thought there was too much work to be done! And if I took the time to go away, who would do the work? Thankfully, I have learned that such thinking is wrong and prideful. So, I have become much better at scheduling and taking the vacation time that I have been given.
Now, to help me come to such an understanding, the following truths were shared with me; I would like to share them with you as well:
Vacation is for you. You do not get many breaks in your scheduling. You are constantly on call. Vacation is that time where you get time to breathe away from the madness, be refreshed, and rest. You are no good to your flock when you are exhausted, distracted, and mentally and emotionally spent.
Vacation is for your family. Your family has to share you quite a bit with other families and individuals in the church. Maybe just as important as the first one, this time is needed so that your family has a blocked off set of time where they don’t have to share you with anyone. When you don’t use all your vacation time for this purpose, you rob your family from having your sole focus to care, fellowship, and enjoy them.
Vacation is for your church. How is it that the church somehow existed and functioned for the last 50 – 100 years without you? Yet, all of a sudden we come and develop this complex that the church can now no longer live without us for a week or two. Using all your vacation time forces others to step up in your absence, shows them they can make it without you for a time, and reminds us most of all that God is not utterly dependant on me for this church to function. I am expendable and I need regular jolts of humility to remind me of that.
Well, now that this blog is written, I can start my vacation. “Where am I going?” you ask. Well, I’m not telling, otherwise it may not be a vacation.