go fly a kite
by Matt Crain
Dont forget! October is national Pastor Appreciation Month. Why not take time to let your pastor and his family know how much you love them.
A FEW YEARS AGO, I was suffering from extreme physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion. As a young man in my first full-time pastorate, I was meeting myself coming and going. I was unaware, of course, of just how badly this affected my family and me. I rationalized that I had always been busy and made it through just fine. Besides, I reminded myself, idle hands lead to a wandering heart. The busier I was, the better the chances of walking a straight path that would please the Lord.
One day I dropped off some building materials for a Habitat For Humanity house in our community. Afterward, I found myself talking with a couple of fellow ministers about pastoring, family life, the community, and so on. Suddenly, a Presbyterian friend turned to me and said, “Matt, you are entirely too busy. At the pace you’re on, you won’t last ten years in the pastorate. You need to learn the right way to fly a kite.”
“Fly a kite?”
I wondered what that had to do with me.
“If you want to fly a kite,” he continued, “there are a couple of different ways to attempt it. The first is to run like a crazed madman across the fields trying to generate enough wind to lift the kite. This will keep you busy, and others will think you are doing a great job at flying the kite, but in reality, you are only dragging it fast enough to keep it from crashing. You cannot run very long, however, before you will tire out and the kite will crash anyway.
The other way is to construct a good kite, take it to the highest hill you can find, and wait for a strong breeze.” With that he turned to me, smiled, and said, “Matt, you know we love you, and we know God will do great things through you; but can I just say—you are looking awfully winded these days. That kite represents your ministry. Is the ministry flying with Holy Spirit power, or are you just running awfully fast?”
Several years have passed since that moment of wise intervention, and I am learning ways to keep from living life winded and frustrated. If you find yourself in a similar position in life, soak in a couple of suggestions on how to slow down without feeling as though you are wasting your life.
First, refresh yourself often in the Word of God and prayer. Ben Patterson is right: “prayerlessness is its own punishment.” Linger on that statement for a moment. If you are too busy to stop, read, meditate, and pray, you are too busy. Nothing elaborate is needed. Perhaps you can only squeeze fifteen minutes from your morning for the Lord. You will find them to be the most powerful 15 minutes of your day if you allow God to make them so.
Second, review your priorities often with your calendar and your checkbook in front of you. We all talk a good game of making good decisions with our resources (time, talents, and treasures), but this ritual will tell you the truth. Ask your spouse and children how things are going. Their honest answers will give you a realistic picture of your life. Children, in particular, see things exceptionally clearly.
As a side note, exercise and eating habits have a lot to do with our mental and physical health. I know you hear this all the time, but we really should heed the advice of doctors and elders?
Finally, take time to rest periodically in God’s presence. Again, nothing elaborate is needed here. Anything from a two-day solo getaway to an afternoon hike with the family, or a cup of your favorite hot drink with a good Christian book can suffice. Just set the parameters, and allow nothing—not even you—to interrupt it. Remember, time thinking, reading, and praying is not wasted.
Friend, from one kite-flyer to another, do not allow yourself to get caught in the trap the world sets when it comes to time and refreshment. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to speak to your heart often, in the quiet place, and see how much more focused and revived you become. May God bless your efforts to wait on His wonderful, powerful, holy wind to lift you up where He desires you to be.
Matthew B. Crain pastors First FWB Church in Johnston City, IL.
Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.