Preparing for Rest
As you may (or may not) have noticed, I didn’t send any thoughts last week. The reason? My tank was running low, and I evoked the power of saying no. While at church last week, a good friend brought up the absence of my thoughts, and we talked about the demands we all face. Then, fortuitously, we heard a sermon that brought clarity. I attend a church called CrossPoint and have been a member for over a decade. CrossPoint has a goal of reaching 10% of Kansas with the good news of Jesus through tithing. By 'tithing,' I mean reaching 10% of the state's population. During my time as a member, I’ve watched the church grow from a main location in Hutchinson, KS, with a satellite in Sterling, KS (where I attend), to 12 full-time campuses with a membership of more than 3,000. The operations and demands mirror that of a corporation. Before you judge, let’s explore the parallel.
The precedent of one church in many locations, having a lead teaching pastor, and campus pastors was set centuries ago by Jesus’s Disciples. The Disciples wouldn't have been able to reach as many people about the faith without the creation of this model. After it was first replicated by the Catholic Church, it has been replicated time and again. As the number of people grew in their faith, so did the tithes. In fact, the Catholic Church is one of the most powerful financial conglomerates in the world. Collecting, managing, and deploying those resources takes a team of professionals. The outreach team (marketing), service team (operations), and professional service teams execute the vision of leadership. Leadership takes its direction from a board. In the case of CrossPoint (and hopefully all churches), the board is made up of the Holy Trinity. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure that today’s corporate structure wasn’t borrowed from the church.
Now that we understand the structure, we can get back to the point of this week’s thoughts. The sermon this past week was on the 4th commandment found in Exodus 20, “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy” (you can find the full message here: https://crosspointnow.subspla.sh/26hgdb3, and I highly recommend you do). The point of the message Pastor Andy Addis hammered home was that the Sabbath was made for us. We are made to rest, refuel, and be in communion. The reason for my description of the parallel between the church and corporate worlds is that Andy was able to draw on his experience of serving at a rapidly growing church, while being a present father to his sons, and intentionally pursuing his wife to ensure that she never doubts her worth and his love. I think it’s important to note that the experience he has earned has not come without mistakes. I’m thankful for the humility he has shown over the years as he has told us about struggles in marriage and parenting moments he would handle differently, as they have become great lessons for me. This week, he talked about the toll not taking rest took on his physical and mental state, and as you might guess from previous thoughts, I absolutely related.
The sermon provided a piece that I completely missed in my previous thoughts: the need to prepare for rest. We all have demands ranging from work, to family, to mowing and dusting that must be accomplished. Some fill our bucket, and others drain it, but either way, those demands must be met. To free ourselves up for a day of rest (and by rest, I mean activities we choose that fill our bucket), we need to accomplish the 'must do' activities in the other six days. This can be achieved in one of two ways. First, you can work longer. Personally, I don’t think draining the bucket more before refilling it is a good strategy. Since my job is literally creating strategy, you should consider this sound advice. That leads us to the second option: get real about what’s important.
Our lives are full of options vying for our attention, ranging from work to kids' games, social media, football, and so on. Preparing for rest is going to require that we get real about what deserves priority in our time. I took time this week to physically write down my top 5 priorities, and here is the list:
- God a. Morning Bible study and prayer take 30 minutes a day but dictate the remainder.
- Michelle a. The world is filled with beautiful women, but none of them make my heart jump like her. I love being with her, whether in conversation or in silence. I must be intentional about continually pursuing her.
- My Children a. I care about them more than anything, following God and Michelle, and will sacrifice accordingly.
- My Work a. I love what I do. I serve farmers who feed the world and truly believe that I have been gifted with the skill and opportunity to make their business and the world a better place.
- My Health a. This should probably be higher, but being honest, I sometimes sacrifice this for the preceding four.
Did you notice what didn’t make the list? Money (I like having nice things), Chiefs football or Sterling College Warrior & KC Royals baseball (I’m a fan), social media, fishing (I love a calm day on the water), building (I like construction and landscaping), and travel (I want to experience every part of this world). While I find joy in these things and they fill my bucket, they aren’t a priority, so given a full schedule, they’ll need to be sacrificed until my Sabbath.
That leads me to this week’s challenge… define your priorities to prepare for rest. Follow my lead and physically write your priorities. Then schedule a day of rest and triage your activities to ensure it can be dedicated to things that fill your bucket. Mine will be this Saturday. I’m going to help coach my son in flag football, pick up a tree from the nursery, and hopefully have a stay-at-home date night with my wife and some friends. Make yours what you want it to be and be intentional about preparing to enjoy it."