Tag: work

Work for the rest

At the box where I do Crossfit, we have this concept called “work for the rest.” We do workouts occasionally that are a prescribed amount of time, with a rest, then repeat. So that would look like this:
3 minutes of burpees
1 minute of rest
3 minutes of pull-ups
1 minute of rest
3 minutes of seated row
1 minute of rest

Photo cred: me Photo spot: CrossFitReform.com

Photo cred: me
Photo spot: CrossFitReform.com

So the idea is that you’d sprint the burpees, pull-ups, and the row because you get to rest immediately afterwards and because you’ve got to sprint again. Our coaches are harping on us the whole workout saying, “Work for the rest!” In other words, work so hard that you have to take the rest. Push yourself so hard that you have to stop at the prescribed time in order to rest. Work so hard that you’re gasping for air, barely able to stand up, not-able-to-talk tired. Don’t get to the 60 seconds of rest and think, “I could’ve done a little more.” You’re getting a rest for a reason! You should need it

  • because you’re tired, and you feel like your body is ready to collapse.
  • because you’re not done, and another round is coming in 60 seconds.

Spiritual lives

There are spiritual implications to this concept, too. Our bodies were created to work. And not just any work. We were created to do significant work. Work that matters here and echoes throughout eternity. Work that serves our families. Our communities. Work that gives back. That makes the world a better place.

But we were also called to rest. Rest replenishes our bodies. Helps us refresh. Allows our life rhythms to breathe. (ultimately, the “rest” that the Bible talks about finds its fulfillment in Jesus, who calls us to “rest” from our works: we don’t have to earn our relationship with God. That’s another post for another day.) It shows our dependence on God, as we rest instead of work, acknowledging He’s the one that is in control.

Did you know that we’re commanded to rest? It’s actually one of the 10 commandments:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. – Exodus 20:8-9

 

We tend to think of disobedience as breaking the law. Doing something “bad.” But the Bible would say we’re being disobedient if we don’t rest.

The bottom line

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to work and rest.

1. Work so hard you need the rest.

Work so hard and so well that your body, soul, and spirit are gasping for air because you’ve given all you’ve got. Work so hard that you can’t go on because you need that rest. And while you’re at it, make yourself indispensable. Become a linchpin.

The Apostle Paul says this:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men – Colossians 3:23

If you knew what you were doing was “for the Lord,” as in you were receiving a direct instruction from God himself, you’d work a little bit differently. You’d put a little more oomph into those “mundane” tasks. You may show up a little earlier. Stay a little later. Put more creativity in. Share more deeply. Lead more passionately. Give more generously.

Go! Go! Go! The rest is coming. [Tweet that]

2. Rest so well you need to work.

Work well, and take the rest. Let your body, soul, and spirit recover. Find those things that help your soul replenish. For me, that means a few things:

  • No email
  • Time with family
  • Sleep
  • Reading a good book
  • Walks around the lake in my city (“active recovery”)
  • Time with Jesus (reading Scripture, praying, etc.)
  • Coffee with friends
  • Running

Through rest, God breathes life back in to me. I need it, too. I give everything I have to my work. Every ounce of my experience, abilities, passion, and life. So I need a fresh wind every single week. I need Rest. Rest gives me energy, stamina, creativity, and the ability to get back up again. It also reminds me, each and every week, that  in my rest that I show my dependence on God. I could work. Or I could trust God to do the work He’s promised He will. I remind myself that my body’s not my own. The ministry’s not my own. My family’s not my own.

And after rest, I’m ready to go back out. I strive to rest so well that I’m ready to get back at it.

Just recently, a pastor friend of mine stepped down from his leadership role because he was burned out. He’d gone so hard for so long without taking rest for his soul. The scary part for pastors like us is that if we don’t rest well, we could lose the ministry we’re striving so hard to serve. [Tweet that]

When you don’t rest, you’re not ready for what’s coming. You end up producing less, being less available, and having less capacity. You can’t give your all to what’s coming because you’re still trying to run on empty.

So rest. Rest well. Rest hard. That next 3 minute sprint is coming.

Tomorrow’s coming. That next season is coming. That next project is coming. That next ministry opportunity is coming.

Your family needs you. Your friends need you. Your community needs you. And if you’re a pastor, your church needs you.

Not the tired, burned out, rode-hard-and-hung-up-wet you. They need the fresh, Rested you.

 

Comfort is the opposite of faith

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image credit: Creation Swap user Shane Cappelle

Without an oncoming wave. In the middle of the calm. In an open field with no breeze.

Without a wall to climb. A hill to take. Or a gate to storm.

Without a battle to fight. An onslaught to defend. A war to wage.

Without the need for tenacity. Bite. And digging in my heels.

Without a sprint. A hurdle. Or one more lap to swim.

Without naysayers. Without doubters.

Without chaos. Without a bit of confusion.

Without “but it’s too hard.” Without “but we’ve never done it like that.” Without “there’s no way.”

Without faith.

 

I rely on myself. I trust in me. I make much of Ben.

I move too quickly. I wait too long. I shuffle my feet.

I lax in prayer. I lax in study. I drop in growth.

I grow weary. Get bored. Meddle where I shouldn’t.

I doubt. Blame others. I shift responsibility.

I grow frustrated. Apathetic. Listless.

I am fidgety. Nervous. I can’t sink in my toes.

I scratch. Scrape. But my heart grows cold.

I wither.

 

Give me a challenge and I thrive.

Give me “comfortable” and I waste away.

 

Am I the only one?

 

 

Palpable, conquerable fear

image credit: Creation Swap user Jon Davis

There are times in our lives where fear is as palpable as the key in the ignition of your car.

You sit there, wondering if you really have to start the engine. You wonder if it would be easier to plant, unencumbered by the stress that awaits you the next time the engine will go silent. When the engine returns to its resting state, you’ll be much closer to the fear you dread.

There are times in our lives where fear seems to grip our hearts so tightly it squeezes every the life out of each ounce of authentic, unconjured courage. Our past failures fuel the fire where fear slowly burns, the warm coals pulsing red-hot. Out of nowhere, a flame sparks upward and we’re reminded of the heat contained within. The gray coal we thought dormant shows life once again, and our past rears its head and cripples us again.

Fear seeks to destroy you, and the beautiful future laid out before you. It wants nothing less than to maim and leave you insecure. It takes the gifts God has given you and twists them so they appear weak and inert.

And you can do one of two things with that paralyzing fear.

What to do with your fear

You can let it keep you in the driveway, effectively out of the game of idea-sharing, problem-solving, healthy community, where fear and insecurities dominate.

Or you can dominate your fear. Reminded that you weren’t created out of fear, but out of love, you can stoke the flame of your God-given gifts. Laughing at fear’s potential to cripple, you can begin to help others become conquerers. (2 Corinthians 1:3-11; Romans 8:35-39)

If you’re afraid, work through it and let it propel you to work harder, dig deeper, and fight with all the strength you’ve got.

If you’re afraid, use that fuel to charge your creativity to go places it’s not gone. Instead of stuffing fear under the proverbial rug, find a way to explore it, using it for good. (Genesis 50:20)

Whatever you do, don’t let fear win.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:6-7

 

Theological laziness

Image by Redeemer Fellowship

We tend to take the easy road. The one that’s quicker, easier, and microwaved.  And that’s not all so bad with a lot of things.  Emails are much faster than letters.  Cell phones are much faster and more efficient than landlines.  Buying a book on Kindle is faster and cheaper than buying a physical copy and paying for shipping.

But when it comes to theology, don’t do it. Becoming a parrot is much easier than becoming a theologian.  But it’s not helpful for the Church.  And in the long run, it will leave you intellectually and theologically paralyzed.

At points in my life, I’ve felt pigeonholed into giving the right answer, quoting the right author, and listening to the right preachers.  Learn to think, talk, and write like the good guys.  Sure, I was encouraged to read the other writers/pastors, but just so I would know their side of the argument.

But we need to think for ourselves.  Read.  Study.  Listen.  And arrive at our own conclusions…not just haphazardly arrive at the same conclusions as the popular conservative, conference-speaking, book-writing pastors of our day.  Because we can read the Bible for ourselves.  And we can think for ourselves.  And we can develop theology ourselves.* We don’t have to consult other men and women when we are articulating our theology.  And when we consult them in place of thinking for ourselves, we miss out on a great benefit of study: discovery.

God still speaks

Call me crazy, but I still think that God speaks today, and He’s not just speaking to the popular pastors.  He’s speaking to me.  And you.  And all other believers.

Standing on the shoulders of giants is different than standing behind them yelling, “Yeah…what he said!”  Standing on the shoulders of giants means that we learn and grow from those who have gone before us.  Standing on their shoulders means we don’t simply lay hold of their conclusions…the ones it took them years to arrive at.  That borders on intellectual thievery.

Most people tend to take the easy way out.  When it comes to theology, don’t short-circuit the work on God in your heart.

Have you ever been lulled into taking the easy way out when it comes to understanding the things of God?

Disagree with me?  Leave a comment below and let’s discuss it!

*Hear me correctly: I’m not trying to divorce myself from our church fathers.  There’s a depth and richness to their writing that’s difficult to find today.  And there’s great wisdom in learning from those who have gone before us, and who are continuing to presently pave the way.  I’m just not linking myself so tightly with them that I can’t use the brain that God has given me to actually do what it was intended to do.  Think!

 

A "day off"

If you have a “day off,” would you rather have something to do or nothing to do?

Having nothing to do stresses me out.  I feel like I should to be doing something.  Since I’m a pastor, and Sunday is a work day for me, I try to take at least part of Friday and Saturday off.  Yesterday, Laura and I had a community group over for game night at our house.  Today is a “day off” for me, but it’s nowhere near a day off.  I’m preparing for leadership training tomorrow and a membership information class that I’ll be leading.  In addition, my wife has a booth (for the small business that we have on the side) set up at a spring fair here in Clarksville.  I set it up this morning, and will tear it down this afternoon.

I hate having nothing to do.  I wasn’t created for that.  Call it a personality quirk if you’d like, but I like to work.  What about you?

 

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