Savoring a Return to Ministry

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Photo by bruce mars on

I’m not sick anymore!

Mostly, anyway. I still have a slight cough, but it’s very contained. And I’ve been on antibiotics for a week, so I really shouldn’t be able to give anyone anything, even if I cough on them.

In theory.

Anyway, after about two weeks of being cooped up at home and pretty much only doing office work, yesterday was a dream: We held outdoor worship and the church picnic.

The weather could not have been better. The shelter our members rented sat in a back corner of a park with a perfect mix of shade and sun. A basketball court, playground, and bathroom facilities were nearby. Picnic tables provided seating for everyone for worship. A delightful mix of visitors and members came.

I got to savor worship. We dug into the entire arc of the Bible under the theme, “Created. Broken. Restored.” We walked from Genesis to Revelation. We sang several favorite songs, like “In Christ Alone” and “Jerusalem the Golden.” And as I led worship, I got to point to Jesus as the one who restores all things. We can’t restore ourselves; only Jesus has done that.

And yes. I savored that. To be with my people again, to point to Jesus, to see them again.

After worship, several men started grilling burgers and hot dogs. Everyone spent time laughing together and getting to know one another. I was last in line to eat, as I circulated and spent time talking to everyone.

And as I sat down to eat, I just looked around at all the tables. I smiled.

It was so good. No, it was not perfect. It was not sinless. But here were people speaking to one another, supporting on another, encouraging one another…

I didn’t get home until six. Worship started at ten in the morning, and people stayed and talked and got to know one another for hours on hours.

It was good. I was exhausted. Spending time with people, no matter how enjoyable, no matter how much I love them, it drains me. I recharge alone. That’s just how I’m wired. So yes, I got home and basically toppled over.

And then came this morning. After two weeks away, I had scheduled a number of appointments to try and catch up with people. I visited two nursing homes, two in-home shut-ins, and a jail. Once again, I savored gathering with members and others whom I got to point to Jesus. But, it was still a lot of peopling.

Between yesterday and today, I may have overdone it.

What’s amazing is that, at least at the moment, I don’t have that sick over-peopling feeling I get. I’m not down – at least not at the moment. I’m simply very, very tired. In fact, after I write and post this, I’ll probably go to bed.

Bed sounds good.

But it was so good. It was so good to serve people again. Not just sitting at my desk, not just making phone calls and texting people, not just shooting out encouraging emails, but actually interacting with people. Sharing God’s Word. Giving hugs. Laughing and crying together with others in person.

It felt good to shepherd again.

And tonight I will sleep, and that rest, too, will be good. And tomorrow… well, tomorrow I only have three appointments, and two of them are very short ones. I have time to detox from too many people before I start pushing again.

God has been good. He has given me a good, good Sunday, and a good, good Monday. And now he gives me the gift of rest.

I hope to savor ministry tomorrow, too.

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