Jesus is the Key to Sustaining Ministry
By Nicole Schrader
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest…” (Matthew 11:28, The Message paraphrase by Eugene Peterson)
In this familiar verse, Jesus calls people to come to him and find rest, yet often the lives of believers are full of activity, service, and sacrifice. Our culture tells us our worth is measured by what we produce or accomplish. When is it enough? When can we stop for the day?
Working from a Place of Rest, a book by Tony Horsfall, answers these questions by focusing on the way Jesus walked through life in tune—and in time—with his Father in heaven. Jesus was always in the moment, present and mindful. His ministry was seemingly unhurried yet sovereignly planned.
Horsfall takes us to the scene where Jesus sits beside a well in Samaria and makes observations about the significance of resting in regard to the will of God.
Jacob's well was there; so, Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well (John 4:6). The fact that he is resting, taking some time out, is what gives him the opportunity to "waste" time with the Samaritan woman who comes to the well while he is sitting there. Because of that life-giving conversation, not only is her life changed but the whole Samaritan town experiences revival…We can learn to work together with God just as Jesus did, for this was no idle moment; rather it was a moment of communion, of sensing what the Father was doing and of responding accordingly.
Working from a Place of Rest suggests our lives need margins, space, or time to allow for the unexpected. The biblical idea of keeping margins around a field from which the poor can glean can be carried over to the limits we place in our lives.
Do we overload our schedules? Does a small delay trigger a disproportionate response in us?
Jesus rests by a well and takes up a conversation with a Samaritan woman. By the end of the chapter, Jesus is convinced to stay two days with the villagers. He is unruffled. It’s not the only time we see Jesus make a detour in his plans to deal with an "unexpected" situation. When he was on the way to see a little girl at the point of death, he stops in a crowd and addresses a woman who touches his robe.
Jesus said he always did the will of his Father. Horsfall puts it this way:
While Jesus was very clear about the task in hand and totally committed to doing the Father’s will, he does not seem to have fallen into the trap of being so tightly scheduled that he could not cope with interruptions and delays…
This book impacted the way I view myself:
- As a child of God my value and worth are not estimated by any activity of mine but wholly on the unconditional love of God in Jesus Christ.
This book impacted the way I view time:
- God is sovereign over my days. Resting in the fact he is in control and I am to wait and walk with him frees me from slavery to my ‘to do’ lists. I give time back to God to apportion as he wills.
This book impacted the way I view ministry:
- By seeking God to help me set boundaries, I won’t overburden myself with responsibilities. Then, I am able to say "yes" to the things he calls me to do—and interruptions to my day become divine opportunities.
This book impacted the way I view quiet times:
- Jesus spent time alone with his Father. I too, must establish a discipline of resting from activity to hear from God, to receive guidance and strength, and to nurture my relationship with him.
Those who understand what it means to work from a place of rest can be described as ‘contemplative activists’. They work just as hard as anyone else, yet they do so in a way that expresses their dependence on God and takes account of their own humanity. They are led rather than driven and rested rather than rushed. They are partners with God in the great adventure of making disciples in all the world.
Horsfall, Tony. Working from a Place of Rest: Jesus and the Key to Sustaining Ministry. Bible Reading Fellowship, 2010.
Retired homeschool mother who loves to travel, bake bread, read, and spend time with her kids and grandkids.www.nicolelisamaria.com.