The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11v25 (NLT)
Summer is a season for harvest. In Hereford, I loved to see the fruit grow around the cider and perry county. Some time ago, at a men’s outreach event, we visited Weston’s Cider Mill and watched a seemingly endless supply of apples pour in, to be washed, crushed, and eventually turned into a product that was famous the world over. Opposite our home in Melksham, a field that seemed bare in spring, is now covered by corn stalks some 7 feet tall. The harvest is almost here!
Back in the day, those who worked in the orchard of the cider press were paid in cider! I’m not sure how much work was actually done. The Bible says not to muzzle the ox that tramples the grain, so the principle seems to be sound, as those who do the work share in the harvest.
There are times when the work itself refreshes us. One hot, sticky and tiring day, whilst his disciples went for supplies, Jesus spent some time sharing the Good News with a woman who had not found love, despite being married five times, and now having moved in with a new partner. The woman puts her faith in Jesus (the only man who is totally trustworthy)! When his disciples return with the much needed groceries, Jesus reply surprises them… “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” John 4v32 (NIV)
However, there are other times when we do need to take a genuine break. Times when we need to stop and take time out. After a hectic time of ministry, Jesus said to his disciples “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6v31 (NIV).
For many of us, the danger is that we become exhausted, and are never refreshed, or worse still, we don’t ever stop. Ministry becomes a treadmill, and you know that you are nearing burnout, when even the harvest does not refresh you!
Whether the summer is a break for you, from schools work and regular church outreach events and meetings, or is the ‘silly season,’ with an endlessly full diary of camps, events and missions, may the Lord refresh you. And be sure to make time for holiday, for God to speak, for refreshment, for Sabbath.
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed. Exodus 31v17 (NLT)