Recently, during a conversation, I mentioned the idea of using a home exchange for sabbatical time “off ” and the person responded, “What about my things?”
My jaw dropped. “What about your things?” I thought. This person is a pastor, nearing burnout, needing a sabbatical, and their main concern is for their “things”? I guess this person didn’t get the memo that their hearse won’t come crawling down the road attached to a U-Haul trailer.
Life is about relationships and experiences–and some people want to sit at home and play it safe? Well, they are the poorer for it!
Sadly, too many clergy today do not take a sabbatical or even use their allotted vacation time. I hate to think that ego (“My congregation can’t get along without me”) or materialism (“What about my things?”) best explain this sad state of affairs. Money seems to be another common rationalization (“I can’t afford to go on a vacation or take a sabbatical”).
It’s time to see the bigger picture. Taking a family vacation or going on a sabbatical really are not about you or your things or your money. God gave us the command to observe the sabbath for the greater good. Everyone needs and deserves to have you available to give them your best–not leftovers.
Take a sabbatical–two months every four years. Take vacations. With a home exchange, not only can you afford to take some time “off,” but it will probably help you outgrow attitudes that interfere with your relationships and your productivity. Go ahead and grow as a leader. Exercise some creative stewardship over the resources God has given you, to take care of you, for the sake of others who depend on you.