The following is an actual transcript conversation between a United States Naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland, October 1995:
Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees South to avoid a collision.
Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees North to avoid a collision.
Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees South to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the Captain of a United States Naval ship. I say again, divert your course.
Canadians: I am 3rd class signalman Smith. I say again, divert your course.
Americans: This is the Aircraft Carrier USS Lincoln, the 2nd largest ship in the United States fleet. We are accompanied by three Destroyers, three Cruisers, and a number of support vessels. I demand that you change your course 15 degrees North or counter measures will be taken to ensure the safety of this ship.
Canadians: We are a Lighthouse. Your call.
As Pastors and Church Workers we can at times be stubborn, especially in following our own advice. The truth is if we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be able to take care of others. We often find ourselves under pressure with time restraints, work to be accomplished, visits to make, sermons to be prepared, meetings to attend, vision to be addressed, counseling needed and biblical preparation, to name only a few.
The truth is, we will never find time to take care of ourselves unless we intentionally build it into our day, disciplining ourselves with the same advice we would offer to others. Jesus was often found taking the time to be alone with His Father, to strengthen Himself for the ministry that lay ahead. What makes us think that as Church Workers we are immune from the pressures of ministry and can ignore the signs of stress and burn out. NEWS FLASH! Pastors and Church Workers are breakable. Your family needs all of you, not what’s left over at the end of the day. Your people need you to set an example not just by plowing through the day but teaching them by setting an example.
Our Lighthouse is Christ. He is our still point. Stay the course! But it will require spending some quality time with Him, not just being in the Word for sermon preparation or taking time off only because you are exhausted. Let Christ direct your actions and your rest. As brothers and sisters in Christ let us continue to care for one another, willing to walk the extra mile, sharing one another’s burdens, sorrows, struggles and joys, taking the time for renewal and course correction when needed.