Remember the airline ad that asked the question, “Wanna get away?” If you’re like me, there have been many days when the stresses and routine of ministry would have led me to a resounding “Yes!” to that question.
It’s interesting to note that ”getting away” was a regular part of Jesus’ life. But, he didn’t just disappear. He had a purpose with every retreat – to be refreshed in prayer. If you’ll think about it, every major event in Jesus’ life was preceded by a personal retreat – the calling of the disciples, ministry in Galilee, and certainly, the trials and crucifixion at the hands of Roman soldiers.
People will drain you. Just interacting with the people you lead takes an emotional and physical toll on you. Pulling aside to recharge is not just a nice benefit from a schedule you control, it is a lifeline to a healthy spiritual life. President Abraham Lincoln was asked once what he would do if he had four hours to chop wood, he famously answered, “I’d sharpen my ax for three.”
That’s at least one part of what we’re doing this week in Gatlinburg, TN. Music in the Mountains has become one of the most refreshing weeks of the year for many of us. We see friends, sing together, laugh, listen to some great music, receive inspiration from the Word of God, and yes, remove ourselves from the routine to get alone with God.
I hope you have built in time in your routine to sharpen your ax. And, selfishly, I’d love to see you at one of our events like this one – so that we can sharpen our axes together. Either way, look for ways to build this critical discipline in your life.
You and the people you lead will be glad if you do.
Mike Harland is the Director of Lifeway Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.