If You Get Tired, Learn to Rest, Not to Quit

The quote "If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit." is all over the internet, attributed to the artist Banksy. I couldn’t find an original source for this quote, but I saw it first on the Insight Timer app.

Most of the ministry leaders I speak with are tired. It’s been a long four years. Many of you started the pandemic already tired. It’s hard to take time to rest when you feel the weight of the church on your back. It’s hard to take sabbath when Sunday is your busiest day.

I’ve been thinking about Sabbath time, as part of the chapter on time in the book about sustainable ministry that I’m working on. Here are some thoughts I’ve had so far:

The most mature, well-functioning people know they are not indispensable. Sabbath is about boundaries. Boundaries between work and not-work. Between us and our people. Between our family time and church.

Boundaries don’t have to be rigid. Overly rigid boundaries are the flip side of having none. They are an anxious response. You may decide to respond to something on your day off, but don’t automatically assume you should or must. Conversely, you don’t want to say, "Never call me on my day off."

Sabbath is good for you for several reasons:

  • It gives you rest.
  • If you think everything depends on you and you can’t take even one day away, you are overfunctioning
  • You have to focus more during the time you are working to get the Sabbath time.

When you take Sabbath time, it’s better for others too:

  • They have to figure things out without you.
  • They will get your best when you are present.
  • They will have to be thoughtful: Should I contact the pastor or not?

You’re more likely to take sabbath time when you plan for it. Try this: plan your rest time as well as your work time.

Get a checklist for sustainable ministry here.