I am currently reading the book, “Leading on Empty” by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro and we shared a dream that he had and the insight that he gained from that dream. In the dream a man and his family ran a small farm. Each day the man set up shop to sell various products and consumers would come and buy what he had: one bought a gallon of milk, another a ripe tomatoes, another cheese, others eggs or corn. A lady came and asked for something that the man did not have, but the farmer simply said, “come back tomorrow and I’ll have more.” The lady was upset with the farmer but it did not bother him. He just went back to work and day after day the people would stand in line for products until the farmer sold out for the day. When they had sold out the farmer would announce, “come back tomorrow and I’ll have more.”
Here is the nugget of wisdom that Pastor Wayne pulled from his dream. He writes, “I don’t have to tie myself to an imaginary, unrelenting cycle to produce more, make more, or try to outdo last week’s numbers. I have just so much time in the day, and I want to do what I can with all my heart involved. When the clock runs out, then I say, “come back tomorrow, and I’ll have more.”
As pastors and church leaders we can often feel like the farmer who feels compelled to “feed the masses” each and every day and never has the courage to stand up to the crowd and say “come back tomorrow” because we are scared that they will riot or not come back at all. The trap that we fall into sometime to run ourselves to death, neglect our families, and not feed ourselves is a dangerous gamble that we can fall into very easily unless we learn to steward our energy.
Pastor Wayne goes on to write how as a result of this dream and a breakdown that almost cost him everything, he learned to restructure his day around the following priorities:
1) A daily quiet time with God – it cannot be understated how important fueling our souls by spending time with God, fuels our ministry
2) Message preparation – as a leader in a speaking role in his church, Pastor Wayne devotes a small amount of time to study and preparation each day so as not to be finishing up his message on Saturday night.
3) Pastor & Leading – when it comes to your daily schedule, Pastor Wayne asks:
- What areas of my life and ministry could benefit the most from an infusion of energy?
- Which areas will be catalytic and advance the kingdom?
- What groups of people do I need to energize and inspire?
- What growth areas require my involvement?
- Which aspects of ministry by my involvement will result in growth and fruitfulness?
- What is it around _______ church that needs a burst of my energy to release or unclog it?
- Where am I going to assign my pockets of energy that will in fact take the ministry to a new level?
4) Marriage & Family – If we use up all of our energy at the office, and we come home completely drained how can we be expected to succeed in this most important role? Saving time and energy that we invest into our marriages and families is one of the best decisions that we can make with our schedules and priorities.
5) Me – Me time includes time for exercise, reflection, fun, rest, and renewal.
Pastor Wayne concludes this section with these words, “Steward your energy well, and in seasons of dismay, you will still have enough of a reservoir to lead” and remember that there is always tomorrow so come back and I’ll have more then! (emphasis mine)