In my life and having a Grade 1 school teacher for a wife, if ‘A’ is for ‘Associate with others’ then ‘B’ is for ‘Balance.’
There are two dangers (and many others beside) for pastors to avoid in the ministry – either ‘kickback’ and ‘go easy’ or ‘kill yourself’ and ‘die hard’ in ministry. So, ‘B’ is for balance – the necessary combination of hard work and times of rest. And there are times of hard work and frenetic, “Go! Go!” in the ministry and there are also times of slow slow. And the continual challenge is to find a balance between the two. I find that I’m often aware of being on the wrong side of the middle line and the direction is then clear in terms of how to fix this. But it’s usually my wife, with her well-trained, classroom eye, who sees it before I do and I’ve learnt that she’s the best human advisor I have and knows me better than most. But the middle line of balance, like the border between to countries, can be imaginary and elusive.
God has not made us for work only but for rest and not for rest only but for work. He Himself worked and rested (Gen 2:1). And both are meant to be God glorifying – that we should honour Him in both and by both. Indeed, God has created both for Himself in order that He be glorified (1 Cor 8:6; 10:31).
So, if you’re working hard and even over working – take a break. Do some gardening. Escape from people. Read a book for fun not ministry or sermon prep. Hit the gym. Take a walk in the bush. Pat the dog. Paint a room. Do something to slow down. “A change is as good as a holiday,” they say.
Flipside, though — if you’re just ambling along in cruise mode. Buckle up. Get your hands dirty. Work hard at cracking the nut of that text that is so hard. Knuckle down and “Go!” Visit that difficult congregant. Finish that hard chapter. Pour yourself out in ministry (Phil 2:17). Because, like everyone, you get one shot in this life at honouring God as God over all. And this one lifetime is short and before you know it you’ll be opening your eyes in Eternity. So make this little physicality, this brief human condition count for Someone way bigger than you and more worthy than you with a cause far more worthy than yours! Life is for the living and living is all about God! So find the middle ground when you’re far off to one side. ‘B’ is for balance.