Posted by Glenn Packiam on 23 May 2016

What keeps you going each week? 

Sundays, as my pastor is fond of repeating, come around with alarming regularity.  Preachers and worship leaders alike can find the rhythm monotonous. The temptation is either to ‘just push through’ and lead, or to search for new songs, better sermon illustrations, or creative elements to keep things interesting. There’s no problem, of course, with utilizing creativity in our services, but creativity is not a salve to boredom. And boredom may be the beginning of burnout. Which is why the other option—just pushing through—is not healthy either.

We have to take breaks from leading to remember why we began leading in the first place. But a break itself is not enough. Rest is not the same as reflection. We have to know where to go, what to reflect on in order to find the strength to keep going.

What do we reflect on in order to find the strength to lead? What is the well to keep drawing from?

Peter had, it seemed, given up on leading. After Jesus’ death, Peter had returned to fishing. But the risen Christ came after him, specifically making sure that the disciples including Peter heard the news. In the famous conversation on the beach, Jesus restores Peter by giving him the opportunity to affirm his love for Jesus three times, as if to atone for his thrice-repeated denial of Jesus before the crucifixion. 

But there is something significant in this encounter that is often missed. For one, Jesus address Peter by a name He had used when He had first called Peter. This was not simply a reversal of Peter’s denial; this was a renewal of Peter’s call. When Jesus had first called Peter, He called him to follow and promised to make him a ‘fisher of men’. Follow me, Jesus was saying, and you will discover your purpose. And so Peter did. This time, however, the call would not be about a purpose but a person. The call to follow Jesus was not in order to discover a purpose; the following was an overflow of love.

As a pastor, when I reflect on this story I find it significant that Jesus did not say, “Do you love the ministry?”. Or, “Do you love My Church?” Or even, “Do you love My Word?” Nope. It is more personal than that. 

And so it is for us. The only fountain which bubbles afresh is the fountain of love for Jesus. Our love for the church, for the ministry, for music, for our team, for our congregation, and even for our calling is not enough to keep us going. We follow Jesus and carry out our calling not for the sake of the call, but for the love of the One who calls. 

How do we keep a love for Jesus alive? By taking the time to behold Him, to see afresh His love for us. Love for Jesus is not something we muster up. It is what comes welling up in us when we are given the grace to see again how much He loves us.

So take some time before you lead again to be quiet, to silence the noise of the demands around you, to delay the urgent emails and questions and tasks. Be still before the Lord and ask the Spirit to let His grace abound to you again, opening your eyes to behold the risen Christ, and to know His love for you.

Questions:

1. How can you build in times of quietness for rest and reflection in your week?

2. What helps you contemplate Christ’s love for you?

3. How often do you lead in a month? How can you create more breaks?

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