“I need a break.”
How many times have we walked into our home or sat at our desk…and muttered that phrase?
We recognize the value of getting even a few moments away from our normal daily activities and responsibilities. In sports we see this concept clearly. Backups – second and third string players – have an important role on the team. A baseball team will pull the starter and bring in a relief pitcher to close out the final innings. This isn’t usually a commentary on the starting pitcher, but a strategic choice to rest the starter to ensure that he will be recovered and ready for his next game. A backup running back may only get seven scattered carries a game, but the carries are timed so that the starter can catch his breath off the field. On any team, when a starter gets injured, the common phrase uttered is “Next man up!”, and the backup is expected to step in and fill the starter’s role for as long as needed until the starter has recovered from his injury.
We see this in business as well. Before a manager goes on vacation or to a conference, she will delegate her responsibilities to those who have been prepared to “hold the fort down” and keep the department running. They aren’t expected to perform the manager’s job forever, but just until she returns. This same concept is also necessary, but not seemingly practiced as much, within the church leadership. Some lead pastors never take a Sunday off, and most do not take all the vacation time allotted by the church.
As Paul closes out his letter to Titus, he gives the following instructions:
Titus 3:12 As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decide to winter there.
There are several things worth noting here:
First, Paul was training others to step in and lead so that Titus could have a break. Paul had other trusted associates and people he had mentored who could step in and lead for a little while. Titus needed a “season” to rest. Even if it is just the boat ride from Crete to Nicopolis, Titus would have a break from the day-to-day pressures and responsibility of leading an island full of churches.
Second, Titus’ rest wouldn’t be just lying on a beach without having responsibility, but would be found in facetime with Paul. Titus would be poured into instead of constantly being poured out of. He would continue to work for God both with Paul and in other missionary assignments (2 Timothy 4:10). However, ancient writings tell of him returning to Crete, finishing his life’s work among these people that he loved.
Third, Paul wanted Titus to make this trip away from Crete a priority. Paul specifically stated do your best to come to me at Nicopolis – the Greek phase for do your best means to be eager to do something or to make every effort to do a task. Getting a break was to be part of Titus’ mission.
If you are in ministry, when was the last time you had a break? Are you training others to lead and allowing them to relief-pitch for you?
If you are not in ministry, how can you help your pastor? Look for ways to take the pressure off of him for a little while. Volunteer to handle something he normally would do but doesn’t necessarily have to, cook his family dinner one night, and definitely encourage him to take a vacation that includes a Sunday away.