by Larry Magnuson


What was Moses thinking?! He lead two million people into the wilderness toward the promised land – and they knew how to complain! Arguments. Disagreements. Endless whining. And do you know who Moses decided would settle all their issues and disputes? That’s right, he would! By himself! What was he thinking! It wasn’t until he received the wisdom of his father-in-law that the load was lifted from his shoulders. I have to believe by that time there was not much left of Moses.

Like Moses we often take on way too much.

I recently came across a phrase coined by Edwin Friedman author of Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of Quick Fix. He warned leaders not to become “a quivering mass of availability.” A good friend of mine said that is a perpetual challenge/temptation for pastors and church leaders. We give and give and give – until all that is left is a quivering mass of availability. We remain available – but not healthy. When we are weary to our core, depressed, wounded, empty . . . then all we have to give is our availability.

But it is not just pastors who give beyond reasonable limits. It is a danger for all of us.

Bob and Sandy Sewell would speak about the need for balancing Work, Worship, Rest, and Play. They are not necessarily equal in our lives but they must all be present. When our work consumes us, when it takes us beyond what is reasonable, the danger of our becoming “a quivering mass of availability” grows. Work means not just our vocation. It is all the doing that consumes our lives. Even ‘good things’ that take us beyond what is reasonable. Clearly in the Gospels, Jesus took time to rest and worship. I believe, though play is not mentioned, it too was part of Jesus routine.

Listen again to Jesus words to his disciples after an intense period of ministry in Mark 6:31:

Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

I wish all of you could see what happens in the lives of ministry couples and singles who come away to a SonScape retreat for a time of worship, rest, and play. The transformation is amazing. The need for greater balance in life is found again. Couples/singles leave with a commitment to no longer serve as “a quivering mass of availability” but rather as healthy, vibrant, balanced people called to follow the example of Jesus in both life and ministry.

How are you going to live the rest of your days?