- Psalm 27:5 (NKJV) For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.
This week has been one of those rare weeks for me. My blogging record for the week is mute evidence of this. Since last Saturday I have only posted three blogs, and one of those was a devotional my wife wrote (if I may say so, it was an excellent blog—check it out here); this coming from a man who has a multi-year track record of blogging virtually every day.
Now the excuse 🙂
Currently I am going through one of those “high tide” times that occasionally sweep in and wash away routine and predictability. To be honest, there has simply not been time to blog if I wanted to live a sustainable life.
There are two takeaways from this season I’d like to highlight that are related to a preacher and teacher’s life:
- First: Don’t confuse personal expectations with personal responsibilities.
My commitment to blog everyday was an expectation I put upon myself. No one has made me do it; it is not a part of my job description, and the world will not come to an end if I miss a day.
The point is this: It is easy to put unnecessary pressure on yourself by having higher expectations for yourself than are not required. When the time and strength is available that’s great–go for it; thoughtful people appreciation the effort. However, when life overwhelms you with more than you can handle, there is nothing wrong with jettisoning those nice-but-not-necessary things.
Many pastors are bi-vocational or wear many different hats and to expect to be at your best at every position every day is unrealistic.
Furthermore, most teachers are volunteers and to faithfully fulfill your assignment to deliver the word of God already means saying “no” to much that your fellow members take for granted. Remember, Jesus is a partner in ministry, not a slave-driver.
- And this leads me to the second take away: Don’t allow anything to compromise the absolutely essential in your life.
To compromise those absolutely essential responsibilities can be fatal—disastrous at the least.
As a preacher and teacher, the two things that you must do is (1) prepare yourself and (2) prepare your sermon/lesson.
RE: Prepare yourself – to stand behind your pulpit on delivery day tired, stressed, and spiritually empty is irresponsible and akin to malpractice. During seasons of overload, narrow your focus to the absolutely essential to protect yourself and allow time for rest, exercise, prayer, and personal devotional time.
RE: Prepare your message – Inspiration requires preparation; there are no shortcuts. During seasons of overload, narrow your focus to the absolutely essential so that you will have time to hear from God. Don’t wait on a last-minute flash of inspiration; flashes have a way of fading fast.
Thank God, “high tides” don’t come around that often, but when they do wash in—don’t panic; the storm will pass and in the meantime, stay focused with razor-sharp clarity on the absolutely essential.