I attended a leadership course a couple weeks ago and the professor asked the class a trick question. “What’s the opposite of tired?”
Take some time to think about that for a moment.
“What’s the opposite of tired?”
I was waiting to see where he was going with this question when some of my classmates started offering their responses which included various forms of rest.
Some subconsciously thought that the opposite of being tired is being well rested. “Not so,” the professor continued.
“The opposite of tired is not rest; the opposite of tired is passion!”
Ah ha, that was a revelation. Part of the revelation is that on many levels we do have rest, safety, security in the comfort, care, and presence of our father, God. At the same time, faith in that relationship is evident in our work, and there is lots of work to be done.
My mind immediately flooded with the passages where Jesus basically stated that he had limited moments of physical rest and that the disciples should go and do likewise.
Jesus: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nets, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20 NIV).”
Jesus to the disciples: “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near,’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or cooper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep (Matthew 10:6-10).”
That’s a lot of work, and with no assurance of resources. Jesus is calling his disciples to a life of continuous sacrifice. He is calling for an emptying of ourselves and complete reliance on him.
The Holy Spirit within us does not tire; he does not grow weary; he does not need rest. On his strength we can rely completely.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40:28-29 NIV
That is the same strength and power that sustained Jesus as he went to the cross. We refer to his obedience as the Passion of the Christ or the Passion of the Cross. On that journey, he spoke the words,
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death (Matthew 26:38).”
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will (Matthew 26:39b, 42, &44).” Notice that he prayed these words three times!
Then he returned to his disciples and stated, “Are you still sleeping and resting (Matthew 26:45)?” This is a warning to us, as Christians and leaders that we should not be sleeping or resting in the moments when Christ calls us to be awake. We should not sleep on the issues where God calls us to action. We should not rest in the time with God’s name is at stake. We are redeemed for a passionate response particularly in the critical moments. These last days are critical!
In our human flesh, will our physical bodies tire? Certainly. Are there times that we need to sleep and rest? Most definitely. In those moments of weakness, however, we need to be more passionate in prayer, more reliant on the Holy Spirit, and more spiritually awake than ever, for Jesus said to his disciples, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak (Matthew 26:41)?”
Are you tired, rested, or spiritually awake? How’s your passion?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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2 thoughts on “Leaders: Are You Tired?”
Great thoughts, Natasha. I think that especially in ministry, people tend to swing to such extremes on this–either we use God as an excuse for our addiction to success, or we disengage, citing our need for good “boundaries.” Being passionate about our callings while respecting our human, God-given need for rest seems like the best way to avoid burnout and keep moving forward.
Great insight on avoiding two extremes, Jenny. Very interesting that you used the term burnout since I will but focusing on a group paper on that very topic this semester. Will see what I learn. Blessings, Natasha