“My family is more important to me than the Tohono O’odham people are”. That was a statement that slipped out of my mouth as our family was returning home from Sunday morning services recently. It had been a great service and I felt like the Lord had been glorified in all our efforts that day. But I was tired. Actually, mentally and physically exhausted. In our long drive home that day I had been looking at the beautiful desert before me and talking to God in my heart. It was pure accident that what was in my head had slipped from my mind onto my tongue before I could stop it. I know many of you can relate when I say that from the time our family began deputation to the point of this outburst, our family had been in a constant work mode. Our days filled with conducting church services, Bible Clubs, meetings and days with no appointments filled with preparing for the ones that do. And while I adore every O’odham person we minister to, I must admit I was starting to feel jealous of the people God called us to. They were getting more of my family than I was. Likewise, they were getting more of me than my family was. It’s not a fun place to be.
In Mark 6, Jesus sent out His disciples with many things to accomplish for the kingdom of God. The disciples did not slack in what Christ tasked them with but worked hard in all they did. So much so that they didn’t even take time to eat. They had seen great things happen, but they had also seen a lot of heartache. In returning to Jesus to share what all they had done, He saw that mentally and physically they were tired. But instead of telling them “get back out there” or even giving them strength to carry on, Jesus declared a time to rest.
“And He said unto them, come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” Mark 6:31
My declaration that Sunday morning did startle my husband and daughter but when I clarified my meaning, they agreed, and my husband declared a time of rest! While we didn’t have the finances to take an awesome vacation, we do have camping equipment. A few weeks later we took a few days to go camping and not do a lot but relax, enjoy each other, worship God and create ways for taking better care of ourselves
God has been so kind to call and supply for each of us to minister to the people we serve. He doesn’t want us short term, He wants us for the long haul. It is our responsibility to not only take care of our ministry equipment, the people we serve but also ourselves to see this through. Here are a few ways we can accomplish that:
Schedule weekly “Us” time. Whether it’s individually or as a family, there needs to be at least one
day each week on the calendar that work is not allowed. A time to recreate, reflect or rest so that we
can renew ourselves for the next week of ministry responsibilities.
. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. In our fast pace schedule, you may not be eating healthy, not exercising
and not maintaining a healthy sleep pattern. A healthy lifestyle will help not only physically but
mentally. Bottom line, if your body is not taken care of it will run down and you won’t be of much
good to your ministry.
Maintain individual time with God. Days can get fast paced and fly by. Before you know it, the
day is over, and you haven’t had any time with God. Jesus shared the importance of spending time
at His feet in Luke 10:41 “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will
not be taken away from her.” It’s a “needed” time. Working in a ministry and not having a healthy
relationship with God will soon lead to a premature death of your ministry.
Let us not ever forget that God loves us as much as He loves the people He called us to. He called us to be servants not slaves. Our family’s time off revived us and energized us to keep going. I pray today each of you will take time for yourselves and your family so that God can work through you for many years to come!
BY: Julie Ford
Tohono O'odham Nation