“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused” Isaiah 30:15 NRSV
Our pursuit of our best life will not save us. Nor will it satisfy the deep longings of our soul. That is the lie of culture, satisfaction by pursuit. Salvation based upon production. Only by returning to God and resting in the Almighty, quietly, confidently trusting bit by bit, we grow in grace and knowledge. We grow in wisdom and strength. We grow spiritually, faithfully, counterintuitively, counter culturally. We grow deeper and more authentic becoming abundant wells of life, love, capacity and Divine energy. We grow into who we were created to be.
For many of us as church leaders this a huge challenge that so often goes unaccepted. More often than not, we submit to the pressure of our boards, congregants, denominations, communities and even our own low self image to prove our worth not by the depth of our devotion, faith and witness but by the numbers of people showing up for worship, the number of money in the churches coffers and the number of programs/services we provide just to name a few. While we are vocationally responsible for managing, nurturing and growing those things; those things will not save or strengthen us and many of us are suffering not from a lack of motivation but from a lack of strength, vitality and spiritual wholeness.
Over the past couple of years we have learned many things about our congregations and culture but we’ve also learned just how innovative and sustaining God’s rhythms of rest and return, quietness and trust can be. I pray as we enjoy the waning days of summer and set our eyes on fall that we would be as diligent in making room for these rhythms as we are about scheduling our fall campaigns, “Back to…” series, launches, re-launches, miscellaneous meetings programs and such. The challenge isn’t to do more, but to do better by prioritizing the spiritual rhythms that make the work not only Divine but sustainable.