From the General Presbyter
Have you ever read the story, “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein? The book begins with a boy and his best friend, who is a tree. Every day the boy climbs the tree, eats the tree’s apples, and takes naps under the tree’s leaves, and both the boy and the tree are happy with their arrangement.
But, as the boy grows up, his requirements change. Each time the boy sees the tree, the tree gives him everything she can; first all her branches and ultimately, her trunk. When the tree is leveled to a stump, and doesn’t think she has anything left to give, the boy returns once again, this time as an old man. But the stump allows the now old man to sit down and get rest. So he does, and the tree is happy.
I hate to be blunt, but I believe this is how many church leaders feel. Pastors, especially feel like they have to keep on providing, regardless of how may “leaves and branches” they lose. You may even feel this way in your “COVID-19 shelter-at-home” life. You may even use the Bible to justify your non-stop frenzy. You may be down to a “stump” and still try to meet the demands of church leadership and other people. You may also feel guilty because you “have so much” and others have lost jobs.
Don’t be a tree stump and don’t create them either! Giving is important, but so is the giver! If you are a receiver, know that the giver needs a break, a vacation, time off. Don’t crab about your pastor taking time. They need it. If you are a giver, give freely and generously and joyfully. And then, like Jesus, rest. Then everyone will have energy for the days ahead!
(I will be on vacation next week. The Midweek will resume the week of August 2!)