As I write these words, I’m sitting on an airplane, beginning our family’s first big vacation since COVID-19 changed the world last year. It still seems kind of surreal that it’s actually happening, after having multiple trips canceled last year.
Earlier this week, we shared a blog post written by Mark Dance in which he encouraged pastors to, among other things, take time to rest. That is, obviously, extremely important. So important, in fact, that God set the example of rest for us as He was creating the world. Later, he would command the children of Israel to take a day of Sabbath; a day of rest.
It’s also important for us to get away to play. Especially after the past year, I know many pastors who say they are more exhausted and more stressed than perhaps any other time in their lives. COVID disrupted so much about our lives and, not least of these, was that for many of us it took away the ability to get away and play. There weren’t many things you could do. There weren’t many places you could go. Thankfully, the world is changing. Things are returning to “normal,” or at least a modified “normal.”
So, pastor, let me encourage you to get away and play. This doesn’t have to be a huge family vacation to some exotic location. It could simply be a few days exploring local attractions with your family. Maybe it means playing golf with a friend on a few afternoons. Maybe it simply means window shopping with your family.
But I would highly encourage you to take some time, turn off your cell phone (or, at the very least, let folks know you’ll be unavailable for a time….and get away from social media, too!). There is a wonderful time of refreshing that happens when we play. I think there’s a good reason we call it “re-creation.” Play has a way to renew our spirit and restore our energy.
Not only do you need it, but your family needs it as well. A pastor experiences immense joys, but he also must bear heavy burdens. We don’t always get to “clock out” at 5 p.m. Sometimes ministry needs and emergencies happen at the end of the day. These can be hard on us, but they can be even more difficult on spouses and kids. We need to take time away to simply play and have fun with our family.
This past year has been extremely difficult. Looking back, I recognize I did not take enough time to rest and play. I’m committed to not making that same mistake this year.
So, pastor, take time to play. Speaking of that, it’s time for me to turn off devices and heed my own advice!
Published April 14, 2021