Accepting the Savior’s Invitation

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
I recently returned to my day-to-day duties after 2 months off on sabbatical. This was my first sabbatical in my 20 years of ordained ministry and a much-needed rest. I am forever grateful to the District for providing this season of rest and renewal. I knew I needed a sabbatical… but I needed it more than I knew!
Life and ministry can lead a minister to feel both weary and burdened, even during seasons of growth and productivity and when the minister senses a high degree of purpose and calling to his or her work. I have often underestimated this reality. It is good and healthy to accept Jesus’ invitation to come to him and find rest in him. Doing so can lead to renewal and reignite passion for ministry as it certainly has for me.
During my time away from my work, I learned a few important lessons. First, life and ministry both will go on, survive, and, in some ways, may even thrive without you. This can be incredibly humbling! When we take a break, we are compelled to entrust the ministry we hold precious to God. And as I entrusted my work to my Lord, I realized that I had been taking myself entirely too seriously and not taking him seriously enough!
Secondly, I learned and truly accepted that my identity, my sense of self, my worth and value is not defined by what I do for a living, even if it is a calling from God. My identity first and foremost is as a baptized child of God who is beautifully and wonderfully made. Nothing I do can make God love me any more (or less) than he already does! While I knew this, preached this, and taught this, I have not always lived or accepted this truth in my life. In my journey with a spiritual director on sabbatical, I realized that there was a lot more to my life than my public ministry. I began to appreciate these other parts of me and recognize that it is good and healthy to nurture my whole self.
Friends, the burdens of life and ministry are real and inevitably will lead to weariness. I pray that we can be kind to one another and encourage and even celebrate taking time off and time away for rest and renewal. Remember the sabbath and take a day of rest every seven. Take time to get away and enjoy the goodness of life and God’s masterful creation. Spend unhurried time with Jesus and be reminded of God’s perfect love for you. And when you come to Jesus, you will find rest and renewal for living out God’s call on your life.
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for LCMC Texas District and Program Director of Harvest Workers, an online ministry training program (learn more at Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 ext. 2 or