Come Apart

How does one separate work and ministry?

Jill Morikone
Come Apart

Come apart. I heard those words through the cacophony of life, spoken by friends, family, and those who knew me best. “It’s okay, Jill, to take a break. You need time away.”

I nodded and smiled, appearing to agree, while my thoughts stayed firmly tucked inside. After all, the busyness is for ministry, for the spreading of the gospel. Wasn’t my purpose to be His witness, to proclaim His Word to others? So, the treadmill continued, accelerating with each passing year.

You know the drill: God calls us to ministry. Adding another speaking appointment must be His will. Answering another phone call to encourage someone sounds so godly. Recording one more program with 3ABN to share with others is Biblical. Having one more meeting to expand the reach of the gospel is Christlike. Writing one more letter, responding to one more email, reaching one more person is all part of ministry.

Or is it?

Come apart. The words are whispered now, spoken through the exhaustion of my brain. I blink rapidly, trying to bring the words on my computer screen into clarity. Focus, Jill. Just another hour or two, and you can go home. The office is dark, everyone long gone home, yet the work piled up on my desk calls to me. You haven’t finished yet. Think of those people you haven’t reached. Think of the decisions needing to be made, so the gospel can push forward. Do you want lost souls against your account if you fail?

How does one separate work and ministry, when work is ministry and ministry is work? How does one come apart, and step away, when the need is so overwhelming? A letter sits on my desk, the words seared across my mind: “I want to go to Heaven, but don’t know how…. I want to follow Jesus, but can’t find Him…. I’ve never known peace in my life. Would you help me?” I want to help this precious woman, and the next and the next. The need is staggering. If my job consisted in corresponding with and mentoring those seeking to find Jesus, that would be enough. But, that’s just an add on, in addition to everything else. Yet, if I turn her away, that’s a soul in the balance.

The guilt is crushing. And so, I paddle on, trying to juggle all, yet not really juggling at all. Seeking for help, while becoming numb and soul exhausted. Perhaps you’ve been there: as a stay-at-home mom, consumed with 24/7 ministry for the children God’s given to you; as a deacon or deaconess, elder or even pastor in the church, seeking to balance work, ministry, and family. Always working, yet never enough.

Come apart. The words echo through my brain, as I lie in the dark, staring at the ceiling. How does one truly come apart? A week’s vacation isn’t the answer. Ministry continues when you’re gone, and work simply piles up while you’re away. How did Jesus do ministry?

I don’t have the answers, but I know this: ministry wasn’t what He did, it was who He was. It was never done to prove something and never out of guilt. It was never undertaken as a treadmill: “one healing, two, three—another 15 before I can rest.” He took time for each one, without thought for the next 5,000 that needed food or healing or whatever. It sprang from a purpose of who He was and why He had come.

Who am I? I’m a daughter of God, cherished, beloved, forgiven, redeemed. My value doesn’t come from ministry; my worth doesn’t spring from what I’ve done or who I’ve helped. Nothing matters but Whose I am.

Why am I here? Only God knows that. But, taking each moment as a gift, savoring each of those gifts from God, and being intentional about asking Him how to handle each one is a great start. It pulls back the harried moments, and basks in the center of His will.

Come apart. Perhaps that doesn’t mean to physically seek solitude, although it can certainly mean that. Perhaps it simply means to enter His presence, in the midst of my day, and to center my mind and heart in His peace.

Come apart while in the midst of the multitude. Come apart and find peace.

Jill Morikone

Jill Morikone is vice president and chief operations officer for Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.