Longing for Counterbalance
By Tim McCoy
Executive Minister, CBOQ
In our fast-paced lives of high expectations, we often find ourselves a bit askew—usually at a time when balance is most required. Our impact is compromised when we’re not able to see straight because our perspective is skewed. We have an oblique view of life, love and the pursuit of purpose and mission. This is why Sabbath rest is required. Pastor and Author Tim Keller states that “although Sabbath rest receives a much smaller amount of time than work, it is a necessary counterbalance so that the rest of your work can be good and beneficial.” Keller nailed it. I want for my work to be good and beneficial for God and for others—good… not great. It’s amazing, the definition of “good”. It’s one of the longest definitions Webster offers—look up good for yourself. Our work doesn’t need to be “great” because “good” stands on its own merit; it is multiplied to being enough, much, advantageous, benevolent, considerable, skillful, loyal, virtuous and commendable. Our work can be all of that when we are balanced. And the counterbalance to all this good and beneficial work is rest—good rest.
Wouldn’t you know it, though: rest requires work. You must work to know what brings you rest. You have to consider everything. What do I have to accomplish before I can rest? Where can I find silence and solitude? Who speaks to me in a way that allows me to rest? When can I be with them in the hectic cadence of my life? Once these questions are answered, you’re almost there. It has to fit you, your life and your family or it won’t be sabbath.
I’ve been blessed to receive a sabbatical from CBOQ. By the time you read this, I’ll have already begun. I’m nervous, excited, scared and relieved. I’ve been planning this for almost two years and I still feel all those things. I had a wise mentor test my plan and he required me to revise it four times. Finally, it is finished. I enlisted others to help. Many helped because they love me, others because I paid them in some way to provide critical feedback. So now I’m ready. Maybe it will be a grand experiment with ups and downs. Maybe it will offer the peace I’ve been praying for. Maybe God will speak directly to me in unexpected ways and places. I can’t wait. Even with all that I feel, I can’t wait.
Luke 5:16 reminds us that Jesus “often went away to lonely places to pray.” I want to follow Christ’s lead. I don’t go away often enough to lonely places to pray and listen. Maybe this time away will provide a way to understand the good rest that comes from stepping away so that when I return from counterbalance (REST), the balance of my life will be good and beneficial in the end.
Some thoughts/questions to consider:
- Would you/others agree that your work is good and beneficial?
- Do you need the counterbalance of sabbath in your weekly/monthly rhythm of life and ministry?
- Have you planned for sabbath times this fall?
I’ll fill you in upon my return. Until then, may you find deep peace and great joy with those you serve and from those who serve you. This journey is GOOD with you. Amen.