Even pastors need time for rest and renewal
by Billy Graham
March 28, 2014 10:04 PM | 784 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Q: As a pastor, I’ve always thought I had to do everything people wanted me to do. But lately I’ve gotten so tired that some days I have to force myself to even get out of bed. I’ve heard about people in business getting burned out, but can it happen to someone who’s supposed to be serving God? — Rev. K.S.

A: Yes, it certainly can. I think, for example, of the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament, who was used by God to defeat the pagan prophets of Baal. But afterward, Elijah was absolutely exhausted and fled into the wilderness, even asking God to take away his life. (See 1 Kings 18-19.)

What should you do? First, don’t feel that God is finished with you, or that your work is over. God might lead you in other directions in the future, but be sure He is the One you’re following, and not just your own feelings. God may even use this experience to help others facing similar situations.

In addition, get control of your schedule, and learn to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Years ago, a wise minister said to me, “I’ve finally discovered that God doesn’t expect me to do everything — even if some in my congregation do.” Jesus couldn’t do everything people wanted Him to do, and He needed times of rest. On one occasion, He told His disciples, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

Finally, guard yourself spiritually. Take time to be alone with God every day, reading His Word, the Bible, and committing your burdens to Him in prayer. Remember the Bible’s promise: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15, NKJV).

Q: Why do some parents insist on bringing their young children to church? Even if the kids are well-behaved, they don’t pay attention or get anything out of the service, and they just bother those of us sitting near them. — M.C.

A: You don’t say if your church provides a nursery for babies and young children; most churches do, and if yours doesn’t, you might want to suggest this to your pastor.

In any case, it’s wrong to assume that children don’t get anything out of church. Admittedly, they may not follow the sermon or listen to much else that goes on in the service. However, they’ll realize that going to church is important to their parents, and to everyone else who attends. And as time passes, they’ll realize that it should be important to them, too. Many children do like to be part of the singing, and those hymns will begin to be part of their memory.

Instead of being upset by children attending services at your church, I hope you’ll thank God for them, and pray regularly for them and their parents. Most people come to Christ while they’re still young, and God may be planting seeds of faith in the hearts of your church’s children right now. God has promised that His Word “will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire” (Isaiah 55:11).

In addition, do all you can to support your church’s programs for its youth. Young people face challenges and pressures many of us never knew, and they need a solid moral and spiritual foundation to their lives — one that comes from faith in Christ. Remember Jesus’ words: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14).

Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.

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