Leaders can easily wear themselves out. There is always more for you to do than you can get done. I heard an old preacher say onetime “If you don’t get apart you’ll come apart”. In order to be effective as a leader, you need to be at your best. When you work without the proper rest and renewal, you will wear yourself out. Steven Covey uses the illustration of “sharpening the saw”. If you are cutting wood, it makes sense to stop every once in a while and sharpen the saw. If the saw gets dull, you will be working a lot harder than you have to and not get as much accomplished. Sharpening the saw is all about getting rest and renewal. David writes in the Psalms from the perspective of a shepherd, providing us with a much different and very powerful word picture. Try to visualize this scene:
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. (Psalm 23:1-3 NLT)
Did you catch what David is saying? Even a shepherd needs a shepherd. Everyone needs someone to shepherd them to make sure they are getting the proper care. When is the last time you set time aside to allow the Lord to truly shepherd you? Try to imagine what it would be like to have Jesus himself walk with you in a green meadow by a peaceful stream. If the responsibilities and challenges in your life are wearing you out, you may need some shepherding by the Shepherd of shepherds. It’s only through the quiet peaceful times that our strength is truly renewed. Notice also that the outcome of walking with the Lord is bringing honor to his name. When you are worn out and stressed to the max, you aren’t in much of a position to be honoring to anyone. It’s only through rest and renewal that we gain clarity of thought and perspective to make the right choices. It’s under those conditions that we most likely to take the right path, because we are conscious of where the Lord is leading us.
Let me encourage you today to be intentional about rest and renewal. You will be much better, accomplish a lot more and make sharper decisions. You will also lower your stress and raise your energy. Don’t just talk about getting rest and renewal; put it on your calendar like any other appointment. Think of it as an investment that pays great dividends. The shepherd is waiting…over there, through the green meadow by that peaceful stream. Why don’t you make it a priority today to set a time to meet him there?
“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” ~ Ralph Marston