Over Christmas weekend I spent a lot of time at home re-organizing my house. This is a yearly thing since things get a bit disorganized, and getting a house in order helps get life in order as the new year approaches.
Part of me doesn’t see the organization of my house as important (I am a man after all)
but I do it anyways…..
Because I need a refuge.
As a missionary in Australia I became fascinated with the Greek word καταφύγιο which is translated “refuge.” It describes a place that is safe and calm, a hideaway so to speak.
The reason that word spoke to me so much is the Christian life is hard (ministry especially) and there needs to be a place of rest and renewal. My little pink house in Barrouallie has been that for the last four years, and an apartment was my refuge before that.
Having a refuge isn’t about trying to actually escape ministry or stress…..
Instead, it’s about resting and renewing myself in preparation for the next day.
I like to think of myself as having an emotional and spiritual cup that needs to be refilled each day. It is possible to minister when my cup is low, but it definitely won’t be effective because my focus will be on filling my own needs. But when there is a place and time for renewal I can dive into ministry the next day filled with God’s love and strength.
Almost every evening my ministry ends at 6:00. Of course, if there are serious needs I’ll meet them, but people know they will find me walking up the road to my house at 5:55. And from 6:00 till bed I’ll be ministering to my own heart in the refuge God has given me.
And at 8:00 the next morning I dive in all over again