some sympathy for the sheep

… from an under-shepherd.

The last two weeks have been overtime weeks for me. Our men and I decided to renovate our fellowship room – to improve insulation and keep our heating costs somewhat in control next winter.

Of necessity, I became the designated painter for the project. [Note: this is not due to skill but due to availability.] Two days of painting last week, and two days of painting this week added hours to my responsibilities.

This is not a complaint, but an observation. In the midst of all this, I managed to listen to a Minnick message from his Whetstone Conference last summer on the value of personal devotional time for ministers. Yes! It is valuable. But…

But too often neglected. There are many responsibilities, and we do study the Bible for a living anyway…

My observation these weeks though brought some sympathy in my heart for those who sit in our pews and whose lives are filled with hours of labour. We constantly urge our people to be people of the book, to make time for themselves in the Word and in prayer. We should always urge these things.

But we should also be sympathetic to those whose lives are filled with bone-crushing physical labour day after day. When they arrive home after an exhausting day – do they want to read? Would they stay awake if they did? [And by the way, I don’t mean just physical labourers, though surely they know a special weariness that others do not know. But those who work in offices and to ‘mind-work’ are as wearied at home as those who do ‘body-work’.]

It is so easy to arrive home weary, eat a meal, and let body and soul relax in front of the television. In fact, last night, I did just that, and watched my boyhood favourites, the mighty Eskies thump the Argonauts, that benighted team from the center of evil in the universe, Toronto. After the game, I did get back to work, but I didn’t read much…

The weary man should adopt a few simple principles in life to ensure regular personal worship of God:

  1. Set limits on mindless ‘zoning out’ in front of the television or other such pursuits.
  2. Go to bed early – and get up early.
  3. Read your Bible and pray first (or at least immediately after the shower).
  4. Make less commitments to time-consuming extra activities – set priorities.

These few things will help. May God help us to build the character to keep the main thing the main thing.



  1. Excellent advice Don. I have been reminding myself of similar things lately. Keep up the good work.