Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture (A simple review of the book “ReSet”)

Do you find yourself burning out? Is Monday one of the most dreaded days of the week? Are you tired all the time? Are you short-tempered with the people closest to you? Do you find yourself stressed and anxious all the time? Are you drinking too much coffee, just to get through the day?  Those are just some of the questions that David Murray asks in his latest book, “ReSet: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture.”

reset bookDavid does a phenomenal job of writing specifically to Christian pastors about the need to rest and have a take a God-ordained Sabbath. Often, we find that those who preach well about taking a Sabbath break are it’s biggest violators. By outlining the different ways that burnout shows up and how it effects our families and our ministries, David helps the reader to understand that we weren’t designed to do ministry 24/7. Even the most gifted pastor is required to take a break. Mr. Murray even accuses pastors of not trusting in the provision of God and perhaps thinking we are more necessary than we are. By accepting our limits, we are accepting his grace and can be empowered to more effective ministry. 

Reset is full of relevant information about how to disconnect and recharge in a ministry setting. The author has gone out of his way to bring relevant resources and practices to the table and write not only a convicting book, but one with a clear path forward for working the Sabbath day back into the busy routine of being a pastor. 

As one that tends to burn the candle at both ends, I am very thankful for David’s book and the reminder and practical guidelines on how to “ReSet.” I’m not all there yet, but because of David’s faithfulness to write this book, I’m making strides and growing in my ability to reclaim the Sabbath rest in my life. I appreciate David and his pastoral heart as he writes from both experience and conviction to men in the ministry.

This is a great book for anyone in the ministry and a good reminder that those of us who are leaders in the church that it is good for our congregation and good for our soul to take a break and live in the power of grace.

He Departed and Went into a Desolate Place (Lk. 4:42)

In the middle of all the excitement, He was finding a place to be still. While people were desperately searching for Him, asking, begging Him to lay his ministering hands on the injured and bring healing, He was looking for a place to be alone with the Father.  It was that important.

The day before had been busy.  Maybe He should have slept in, but instead He is out in a desolate place seeking an opportunity to speak the Father.  People were looking for Him.  Didn’t He know that they were lining up at the door?  His ministry was taking off!  He could be doing ministry at that moment, but instead we find Him with the Father.

It’s just then that I’m reminded.  Ministry isn’t His objective.  It’s not the end.  It’s the means to the end.  Worship is the end.  Bringing people to worship is the end.  And you can’t bring people to a place where you haven’t been.  You can’t lead people to do something in public that you haven’t at least done in private.

He wasn’t on His own in the mission.  He had constant contact with the Father.  He got up and spent time in prayer.  He could have stayed, but He left, the mission required it (Lk. 4:43). He had every reason to stay and be “successful” where He was, but that wasn’t the mission.  He had spoken to the Father and obedience to the Father is more important than a seemingly “successful” ministry now.

Healing, calling people to repentance, declaring the work of the Lord were all secondary to worship!  Real and authentic worship!  Worship not by song or way of lip service, but worship wrought out by obedience! Obedience wrought out by a time of solitude in prayer.

Father,

Today I hear you calling.  You call just like every day.  You say, “Come now and drink deeply from the fountain… come now and drink!”  You say, “Jonathan, you drink now from the fountain… before you call others to drink and immerse themselves in Me, you be immersed!  Don’t preach with a parched mouth!  Don’t attempt to do ministry for Me without seeing Me first.”

I admit O’ God that I am tempted some days to run into the day without seeking You first.  Thank You Father for drawing me close to You.  I almost mistook the ministry for You and that is a dangerous place to be (Mt. 7:21-23).  You have my obedience today and I pray you have it for the rest of the life You have given me.  I am yours.