Pastor’s Column: Retreating to Ponder Creation

As I sit on the deck of our Retreat facility overlooking the beautiful green grass, a forest of deciduous trees and small pond, I ponder the power of our Creator and grandeur of His creation.  Many of us don’t take the time to relax and enjoy His creation.

Those in full time ministry have tremendous expectations placed upon them.  They have little time for relaxation and time away.  Too many demands!!!

Yet, if we look to scripture, there are examples of Jesus taking time to be alone, to spend time in prayer, and taking time to be strengthened physically, mentally and spiritually.

Luke 5:16 “But He (Jesus) would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”

Mark 6: 46 “And after He had taken leave of them, He went up on the mountain to pray.”

Luke 6:12 “In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God.”

These are just a few of the examples of Jesus going off to “retreat” from the demands of the ministry.  My question is, if Jesus felt the need to retreat to a quiet place and pray to His Heavenly Father, to relax and get regenerated, why do we think we don’t need to do the same?

Anyone in full time ministry needs time away for spiritual renewal, mental rest and physical rest.  This can come in the form of studying God’s Word, sleeping, napping, taking walks, praying, enjoying a cup of coffee without having to hurry off somewhere, or just sitting in a chair enjoying God’s creation.  But it needs to be away from the hustle and bustle of every day demands.

Anyone in full time ministry needs time away for spiritual renewal, mental rest and physical rest . . . it needs to be away from the hustle and bustle of every day demands.

I have seen the effects of time away from ministry with Pastors who come to Oak Forest Center for a Quiet Retreat.  They come tired and uptight; empty (most of time they don’t know it!). It usually takes 3 days before a real change occurs.  After 3 days they are relaxed, energized and renewed.  If they stay another 2 days, they are really ready to go back and give the people they love and serve the attention they deserve!

If we invest everything we have into our relationship with God, we will experience the full dimensions of being children of our Heavenly Father.  If our desire is to know God more intimately, and if we spend ample time with God, He will generously enrich our relationship with Him.

Do yourself, your family, your congregation a favor; take time off for a quiet retreat and spend several days with our Heavenly Father.  You’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it more often.

Mark and Lou Rieland are the Directors of Oak Forest Center in Frederic, WI. Oak Forest Center is an adult retreat ministry of Forest Springs Camp and Conference Center.


June 24, 2019
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