When the Minister Is Tired, Watch Out!


(Written a few years back. I decided to leave it intact and post it as is.)

“Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat down by the well….” (John 4:6).

Jesus grew tired, so don’t be surprised if you do, too.

Jesus needed rest and wanted a little solitude, and you and I are no different.

Give yourself permission to be human, friend.

As for me, it’s Monday night and I’m tired.

How did I get this way?

Take the last few days, for instance. Last Thursday, I drove to Biloxi, MS and sketched that evening and Friday morning for a convention. Then, I drove on to Mobile and spent the night with my son’s family. Saturday, drove 300 miles into North Alabama where I spent the evening sketching at a graduation party for the granddaughter of some classmates of mine, friends all the way back to junior high.  And then, Sunday. Well, the Lord’s Day began with a 7 am men’s breakfast at a church outside Jasper, AL, followed by sketching people during Sunday School and preaching  at the 11 am service. I left that church and drove 10 miles to my sister’s UMC church, arriving in time to sketch almost everyone attending a luncheon. Back at the family farmhouse, I caught a nap, then drove to my other sister’s Baptist church and sketched for an hour at their Sunday evening fellowship.  Monday, I got up and drove the 400 miles home.

When a friend described a concept she has for some kind of book illustration she’s requesting, I had to say, “I am too tired to think about this at the moment.  Can you have someone draw your idea and mail to me, and I’ll try to redraw it as professionally as I can.”

When you are tired, a lot of things occur….

–Saying ‘no’ becomes a necessity.  The last thing you need is more burdens.  The first thing you need is rest.

–The creativity goes out the window.  The creative instinct needs to be protected by a circumference of solitude, quiet, and silence.

–The enthusiasm leaves.

–And so does the energy. When the experts say the remedy for mind fatigue is exercise, to make the body as tired as the mind, we instinctively reject that as ridiculous. Although it’s probably true.

–You discourage easily.  The slightest thing.  If you’re like me, you get grouchy.

–You tend to overeat.  Mostly, that’s because you don’t have the energy to prepare proper food. And comfort food got that name for a reason.

–You don’t feel like disciplining yourself (see the above point).

–You become short-tempered with friends and even more impatient with strangers.

–Therefore, you have to pray the Lord will guard your spirit and bless your reactions and responses.

–You want to be alone.  And you would like a long, long nap.

–You shy away from decisions that need to be made. And that’s not all bad since decisions made when one is fatigued tend to be risky.

–You tend to act impulsively.  Negatively or positively, shooting from the hip is not good.

–You are in great danger of bad decisions, offending people dear to you, rash pronouncements, and ill temper.

The best thing to have when you get really tired…

…is someone to speak truth to you and if necessary, force you to rest.  “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” 

A pastor friend said to me, “I’m about to have a breakdown.” He holds down a full-time secular job and yet his congregation expects him to devote a great deal of time to the church.  As bad as that is, I expect most of the expectations are his own. He is a terrible taskmaster for himself.  That’s why someone has to make him stop and rest.

“If you are sick or hospitalized or if you have a heart attack or die, the congregation will have to figure out how to get along without you,” I told one such friend.  But no, he could not allow himself the luxury of resting.

It took his wife demanding that he stop before he allowed himself that privilege.

If you are a pastor with a ministerial staff, ask them to cover for you.  Enlist the aid of your spouse to protect you from interruptions.  Now, rest.

Watch out for the temptation to do more jobs around the house.  Cutting the grass is not relaxing.  Working in the flower garden is still work.

So, when I got in from my long drive today, I went through the mail and dealt with it.  I unloaded my car and washed two loads of clothes. And I did this blog and responded to several emails.. 

For a minister who is widowed, there is no one to tell me to stop this and turn off the laptop and go to bed early.

Help me, Father.

A pastor announced he was taking a well-needed vacation.  Some unbeliever in the congregation called out, “The devil never takes a vacation.”  The godly leader responded, “True. But he’s not our role model.”

If the Lord Jesus needed rest, why in the world would we think we do not? After all….

God rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done (Genesis 2:2).


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