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Is Your Oxygen Mask On?
June 17

Over the past few weeks and months, I've been talking to a lot of pastors. Some of these calls have been for myself, as I have wondered how my colleagues were handing ministry in the age of COVID-19, and other calls were for them, as they were struggling through the same stuff that I myself had been trying to process. Earlier this week a good friend of mine sent me a text as he was hitting his breaking point. We exchanged some messages back and forth and then I asked him if he had taken any time off in 2020. We are nearing the midpoint of the year and he, like most of us, hadn't taken any of his allotted vacation time. "A person can only sprint for so long." The next day he told me that he had reached out to his Spiritual Advisor who encouraged him to stop trying to do everything and instead focus on the aspects of ministry that fit with how God made him, and the aspects of being a pastor that are life giving for him. Unless you can walk on water, you can't do it all!

Years ago, I heard a speaker at a pastor's event talk about the need for a leader to put on their own oxygen mask first before they try to help anyone else. My mind immediately went to the speech that we all hear at the beginning of a flight. "Before you help anyone else with their mask, make sure you have yours on first." Simply put, if you aren't making sure you are getting the basics you need to stay alive, you can't help anyone else. Is your oxygen mask on? Are you trying to do too much? Are you trying to do it all? Have you spent some time tapping into the things that give your life, or have they been shoved aside by the avalanche of things demanding your attention? Sometimes it can be tough to admit that we need a break. It is humbling to admit that we can't do it all and that we need help from others. But, if being a person of faith means we are completely reliant on someone, something outside of ourselves, maybe we need to return to the source of our creation and the source of life and breath. At the core of the Christian message is the need to admit our need for something outside of ourselves. How good are we at doing that?  

We are called to do important work, but I remember reading somewhere that the seventh day is holy, and it is filled with rest. Do we think we are better than God and we can work 25 hours a day and 8 days a week? If God rested, how much more do we need to rest? If Jesus went off to a quiet place, how much more do we need that too? A place where the TV isn't blaring the latest catastrophe and the phone isn't buzzing and beeping like a possessed piece of technology! This isn't to say that we should stop doing the important work that people of faith are called to do, I don't recall reading God encouraging being lazy or apathetic, but we need to rest. We need to remember that we can't do it all and that there are times when we need to make sure our oxygen mask is on so that we can help others breathe too. It's OK to take that time so that God can refill your soul so that we can continue to do the important work that people of faith are entrusted with. So, my friends, is your oxygen mask on?

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Chris 

Last Published: June 18, 2020 2:52 PM