Enjoying the Journey
Pastor Scott Hooks is one of my dearest friends on earth. The work he has been chosen to lead in Hickory, NC is being blessed of the Lord in a wonderful way. In a personal way, God has used him in my life. I am pleased to share his guest post with you and to announce a new gathering for preachers that we look forward to co-hosting later this year. Enjoy the encouraging read and make plans to join us in September!
After a long season of ministry that culminated with the sad news of the beheading of John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples saying, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). The demands and disappointments of ministry were wearing them down, but Jesus offered them rest. Rest can be defined as follows: to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength, to refresh, and to keep quiet of calm and patient expectation.
That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Obviously, the answer is yes; but not only is it nice, it is necessary. As the disciples needed rest, so do God’s servants today. Numbers of pastors and Christian servants have come to view rest as something akin to weakness or sin. Many are reluctant to pause for rest, nor can they seem to enjoy it when they do because of feelings of guilt or concern for that which isn’t getting done during their absence. Worse yet, they are worried about what might happen in their absence. This type of thinking eventually produces problems: exhaustion, depression, strife, going through the motions, and more. It takes a heavy toll on us, our spouses, our families, and the people we lead. The late evangelist, Vance Havner, described it this way: “If we do not come apart, we will surely come apart.”
So, how do we “come apart and rest a while”? The disciples were invited to come apart from the world and the responsibilities they carried and to come together as a body unto the Lord Jesus Christ to spend time with Him and be refreshed by Him. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The only way to experience rest in our souls in this world of toil and strife is to come apart from it and sit at the feet of Jesus. There, we commune with Him in His Word. We hear His Word as He speaks to us. What we hear from His Word produces faith in our hearts. We bring our petitions to Him in prayer, and we lift our hearts to Him in praise and thanksgiving. We learn to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us, and we experience rest.
The added blessing to the rest He offered them is that the disciples were invited to enjoy it together. Through the years, I have greatly benefited from time spent in the Lord’s presence with others in the His work. Preachers and their wives need friends: people who will pull for them and pray for them. We need comfort, encouragement, conversation, a prayer partner, accountability, a sounding board, advice, and more. As I reflected upon those times and upon the need for more of them, the Lord placed a desire in my heart to do something to encourage others in ministry. After a season of prayer and conversation with other preachers, Scott Pauley and I have decided to “launch out into the deep” and host a fellowship/meeting for those in the ministry and their wives. We are calling it REST. Beginning on Labor Day September 3-5, 2018, we plan to host pastors, church staff, evangelists, missionaries, those called into ministry, and their wives at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hickory, North Carolina. REST serves as an acronym for Refresh, Encourage, Strengthen, and Train. We are not hosting a how-to meeting, a promotional meeting, or an agenda-driven meeting. We are praying and planning so that our time together will be refreshing, relaxing, and relational. We pray that the Lord will use this time to give God’s servants a much-needed time of rest.
I hope that you and your spouse will consider joining us as we come apart from the world unto the Lord Jesus Christ to find rest in His work.
For more information and to register go to thepreachersrest.com.