Blackberries and a Sabbath, just what do they have in common?
I mentioned yesterday that we, our church had created a community garden on the church property. We have been working very hard to create a space where people can come, not only to garden, but also enjoy one another’s company and connect with one another in a place that is relaxing, peaceful, allowing us to interact with our community in a positive manner that gives birth to the opportunity for a “Thin spot” to God. A place where one can slow down and just enjoy God’s creation and commune together as a family with Christ as the head. So we have been working hard transforming an unused, overgrown, weed chocked, part of the property into a place of tranquility.
Anyway, my job was to get the blackberry bushes under control. Blackberry bushes are amazing plants. They, when cultivated and pruned are beautiful things. They provide wonderful, sweet, juicy berries that can be eaten right off the vine or collected and made into wonderful pies, cakes, ice cream toppings…but left untended can and will become unruly, out of control plants that will take over any property that they happen to grow in. thought life comes to mind as I write this and will most likely bring on another bread later.
I was excited to work on the Blackberry bushes. Not because I love to grab vines with thorns on them, not because I love to have the thorns grab every part of my clothing and pull against me. No, I was excited because I could see in my minds eye the finished product. I could envision a place where families could come and pick berries, enjoying the fruit of the vine, so to speak. I with the help of a couple of other guys dove right into our “project” and we were “kicking” these vines. We had machetes and clippers. At first we were really making progress and while the work was hard we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves. But as the day progressed we became more and more tired. Our work got sloppy and our enthusiasm waned. The thought of needing a break first came as a fleeting thought and as time went by taking a break was all we could think about. I started to dwell on taking a break. I wasn’t so excited about the Blackberries anymore. I kept going even though this work wasn’t all that exciting anymore; the Blackberries that in the beginning we where “kicking” began to “kick” us. We weren’t doing our best work at the end; we were just doing the job.
I began to think about ministry.
I began to think how ministry and pulling Blackberry bushes are a lot alike.
In the beginning ministry is a real hoot. The work is hard but you can see the end product and so your excitement is evident to everyone. But ministry, like Blackberry bushes can be a never ending job. There is always something else to do, someone that needs you. The temptation to keep going even after your enthusiasm has waned can be overwhelming. Pretty soon you no longer enjoy what you are doing, not because you don’t believe in it but because you are so tired. You need a break.
Taking a Sabbath.
God, tells us of the importants of taking a Sabbath. We need to rest. We need to take breaks. We need to rejuvenate so that we can present our best selves.
There is an old saying; “People can tell when you love your job, and they can really tell when you don’t!”
When we get so wrapped up in our ministries that we don’t take a Sabbath we are not only hurting ourselves we are hurting others.
Don’t allow ministry to “kick” you.
The importance of a Sabbath.
Something to think about.