My wife, Carla, and I got our first Covid-19 vaccination shot this week. We are scheduled to return in 28 days for our second shot. We were one of approximately two million in America who did the same on that day. This took place on the one-year anniversary of the declaration of this terrible pandemic. What a year it has been for all of us.
We have lived with this threat for over a year now. Many of my friends and church members have contracted this illness. We know people who have passed away from it. When we arrived at the drug store for our shot, it was both exciting and a relief. We were going to have another means through which we could be protected from this threat.
It would be great if we could take a vaccine to protect us from all that threatens us in the ministry. No one in ministry is immune to people, problems and pain that threaten us. We all have our own story when it comes to these three areas. How do we prepare ourselves for the daily threats we face in life and ministry?
Here’s my take on what has been like a vaccination from all the threats I face:
The most important hour of the day for me is the first hour after I wake up. This is the time I make coffee, open my Bible and read God’s word. My focus is not in preparation for a sermon or a message. It is simply a time to read God’s word for myself. My plan is to read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation once a year. My goal is to study, understand and receive the Word of God. This is followed by a time of prayer. I usually pray through the Lord’s prayer and then I have a list of people I pray for each day. I am an early morning person and this is my best time to study, pray and focus on God. My study gives me fresh insight and new hope.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
It is imperative to spend time with the people God has placed in my life. This starts at home with Carla. I communicate everyday with my son and daughter online as we share words of wisdom, encouragement and humor. Ministry in the church calls us to spend time with those we are called to serve. This can be both invigorating or draining. However, there are certain people God uses to fill me up when I feel empty. When I am feeling discouraged, I need time with those who can lift me up with a helpful word.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-1
We need time off for that which fills our cup. We have our own hobbies and activities that gives us enjoyment. We may need to take a walk or jog. Years ago, I faced a struggle with anxiety and anxiety attacks. I discovered how important it was to take time off and focus on activities that renew my mind and strength. We need a certain amount of sleep each night. We need times of rest so that the demands and disappointments of ministry do not get the best of us.
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Mark 6:30-32
Still Waters Renewal exists to provide women and men a place to get away and find rest, healing and renewal. Our next retreat is June 14-19. Come join us and sign up today.
Jim Daniel- President of Still Waters Renewal