The quote "Don't just do something, stand there" is an obvious play on words and meant to grab your attention.
This quote has been attributed to Dwight Eisenhower, Lewis Carroll, and even Clint Eastwood. For those interested in where the quote originated, click here.
As one of many pastors seeking to lead well during the current pandemic, I am facing totally new and challenging questions and circumstances. I know there are many facing much more than me, so I'm not seeking pity or putting myself in a category I do not deserve. I join a few weekly pastors meetings online and have found great insight and encouragement from my brothers.
I also join a few other ministry meetings online for times of prayer and insight. I have noticed something that is starting to be a trend.
In the effort to do the right thing, many pastors (I'm one of them) are continually asking "What do I do next?" Often more things to do are determined based on what others are doing, or some great idea that worked elsewhere.
There are certainly things to do.
There are churches to lead.
There are sheep to be shepherded.
That was true prior to the pandemic. It still is.
Yet, in this season where our churches are not functioning as we did prior, where online is now our default setting, where questions about how to restart and when hover over every pastor, there is something I have noticed missing.
Doing something by doing nothing.
It is counter-intuitive to most pastors.
We serve understanding the urgency of evangelism and the need for discipleship. One pastor even told me "I cannot afford to rest. If I do, who will do this work?"
I shared with him, "If you don't rest, you won't be doing this work either."
I should take my own advice, it seems.
As I have been reading David Murray's excellent book Reset, this portion on page 99 ended up being highlighted...
Pastors seem to think that "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work" (Ex 20:9-10) has an asterisk (*unless you're a pastor, in which case you must work seven days a week.)
Guilty as charged.
There is still work to do.
There is still a local church to pastor.
There are plans to be made (and remade, and revised, and reworked.)
Yet, there is still a God who remains sovereign, in control, never tiring (but took a Sabbath as well,) who has called you and me to himself and to his service.
For the Busy Pastor
Rest in Christ.
Go take a nap. Watch a movie with your family. Read a book. Play a board game with your kids.
Remember, resting is not laziness or slothfulness. Those are sinful. Resting is not. Resting is not refusing to do anything. There are six days for work. Rest in Christ, who is our sabbath, but don't forget to take some real time during the week (check your calendar in case you forget what day it is) and relax. Take a breath - a deep one - and stop.
Don't just do something. Stand there (or sit there, or even push that recliner back) and worship God in the midst of this global pause.