As a pastor, have you ever been so worn out in your work, that as my quick-witted grandfather used to say, “I am too pooped to pot? ?’ You are probably saying I have been there, done that and don’t want any more of those tee shirts!
Ministry can make ministers bone weary and dog-tired! The spiritual/emotional drain on pastors is never ending. People, God bless them, bring us our greatest joy and our greatest sorrow. Joy or sorrow, shepherds spend tremendous amounts of energy caring for the sheep. Energy that whether we believe it or not, is limited and must be renewed.
David understood energy drain and weariness in life. In the 23rd Psalm he writes “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters, HE RESTORES MY SOUL (verses 1-3a). Note that David’s shepherd, the Lord, made him lie down in green pastures, and led him to quiet waters. What a pastoral scene—solitude, tranquility, peace and quiet. Can’t you just feel the soft, green grass and cool, gentle breeze blowing across your face? Camping leisurely by the bristling brook, the rhythmic sound of gently cascading water soothes your soul.
No people. No ministry. No pressure. Just rest and relaxation in the presence of the Lord.
David said “HE RESTORES MY SOUL.” David didn’t restore himself, God did. God made David take time out to rest because he needed it!
Our soul man (mind, emotions, and will) takes a beating in the ministry. If we do not regularly seek personal restoration and renewal, stress, burnout, and eventually depression will wear us out and render us ineffective in our work. Too many pastors are flat worn out and burn out in their pastorate. Their ministry is no longer joyful or fulfilling.
Someone said “If we fail to nourish our souls, they wither, and without soul, life ceases to have meaning.” If you are struggling to keep up with your responsibilities, if your joy meter is running low, if you just put in time until the next ministry event, and you can’t wait until it is over—you need your soul restored and renewed.
Tired pastors turn out tired churches. Weary leaders produce worn out followers. But refreshed, renewed, healthy ministers produce healthy ministries. Pastor, you are important. You owe it to yourself, your family, your church, and your community to minister in the power of restoration and renewal. Restoration is for pastors too!
Here are four things that every pastor should know about restoration.
1. Restoration is a PROMISE. One of God’s many magnificent and precious promises is Jeremiah 30:17 which reads “For I will restore you to health, and I will heal you of your wounds declares the Lord.” Ministers get wounded in the ministry. Often, for the sake of the people and the church, pastors let their personal health and emotional wellness go until they get so frustrated and discouraged that they can’t see straight.. Some clergy become so tired and stay so weary they think this is the way ministry is supposed to be. Not true!
Ministry should be energizing for ministers. Being God’s servant should bring about in us a holy enthusiasm and fresh anointing each day that is contagious to our family and our congregation. We have to believe that God promises to restore our soul and then we must put ourselves in the position to regularly receive His gracious, life-renewing restoration.
Jesus said it best. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
2. Restoration is a PROCESS. No microwave restoration in the Word of God. Indeed God heals instantaneously. He can touch us and restore us in a second when faith is present. But renewing a weary soul and restoring a wounded heart takes TIME. Pastor—process is not a four-letter word! Process is our friend. “HE RESTORES MY SOUL” is a time tested and proven process that insures complete healing and wholeness. We are so busy as ministers that we miss full restoration, and settle for partial renewal. Just a fix, a tune-up, when what we really need is an overhaul!
Restoration is a lifelong process. Restoration and renewal is something we need regularly. As pastors we must submit to God’s process to be refreshed. Learn to be at peace with God’s pace. The Restorer knows what He is doing.
3. Restoraton is PERSONAL. Restoration is intensely individual. The twenty-third Psalm is full of personal pronouns. “He restores MY soul.” Because we are unique and special, God has a tailor-made plan of renewal for every pastor.
In the ministry, there have been times when I needed restored. Whether anyone else did or not, I certainly did. The Lord gently invited me to come. If I ignored the invitation, He made me come! Circumstances drove me to the tranquil, restful places. There, He directed me to the Scripture I needed. Undistracted, alone with Him, we fellowshipped, and He filled me anew with the Holy Spirit. He strengthened my inner man. The richest times in life come when we wait on Him and He restores our souls!
4. Restoration is POWERFUL. In Psalm 92:10 David jubilantly declares “I have been anointed with fresh oil.” Restoration restores people to a life of power–proper power—God’s power of love operating through the Holy Spirit. Oh how we as pastors need “fresh oil”! God’s anointing for daily ministry tasks is not optional if we are to be fruitful.
Read Jeremiah 31:1-14. Here we find Judah’s powerful restoration to the Lord. Take special note of the benefits and blessings God bestowed upon His restored people. Restoration takes powerless people and pastors and turns them into powerhouses for the Lord!
Pastor—tired of powerless and fruitless ministry? Need some R and R—rest and restoration? How about some fresh oil too! The key to “HE RESTORES MY SOUL” is admitting I need restored. Once I take PERSONAL responsibility for my spiritual and emotional wholeness, then I can receive restoration and renewal From the One who loves me most!
The Lord is waiting for you to come and be renewed.
But they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings as eagles. They will run and not get weary; they will walk and not faint.