Prophetic Momentum

Jon Cressey writing mostly about church, prophets and prophecy...


exhaustedI don’t follow football closely, but the recent news about Jürgen Klopp, the 56-year-old manager of Liverpool Football Club, resonated with me and sparked my curiosity.

When Jürgen announced his decision to step down, citing a realisation that his previously seemingly endless energy levels were now depleted, it was easy for people to speculate about more sensational reasons behind his departure. However, it’s a genuine comment that speaks to the very human experience of recognising and accepting one’s limits.

Despite the so-called ‘reset’ of Covid, where the pace of life slowed to a manageable 20mph, it has once again accelerated to unmanageable levels. Now, in our relentlessly fast-paced world, a new epidemic of weariness has seeped into the very fabric of our society. This pervasive sense of exhaustion touches everyone, from all areas of society – from the shop floor to the ivory towers, from the pews to the pulpit.


The voices echoing ‘spent’, ‘done’, ‘drained’, and ‘knackered’ are not merely expressing temporary tiredness but a deep-rooted fatigue. In response, perhaps there is a prophetic clarion call for church leadership to respond, not merely with concern, but with a vigorous, Scripture-honouring approach.

Society, crumbling and broken, is dead-tired, and with a broken health system, a faltering economy, a dysfunctional government, and a compromised moral compass, it may be that the small, tender shoots of revival are beginning to sprout. Politicians are known for their reluctance to accept responsibility, and a similar situation exists today with society and life; we turned our backs on God and broke all our toys.

We can’t fix everything

The mantra ‘We broke them, so we can fix them’ no longer works. We need God, not a god of our own making, and definitely not a money-shaped god. We need the God who does not need us, yet loves us so dearly that He sent His own Son to die for us so that we can be reconciled back to Him.

Thankfully, scripture speaks emphatically to this condition of weariness. In Mark 6:31, Jesus Himself addresses this issue directly, calling to His disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Here, Christ does not merely suggest but commands rest; it’s a divine prescription for the tired soul, an imperative for renewal and rejuvenation. It’s almost as if the disciples just can’t keep up with the pace that Jesus is setting and now it’s time for a rest, to get out their phones, look at social media and have a quick snack – and maybe a nap.

When children are tired they bicker, argue, snap at one another, find it difficult to concentrate, fight, lose friends, and find new enemies. That’s not much different for adults, just a little more sophisticated. You, they, we – are not at our best when life has drained the energy, vision, and focus from us.

True rest

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus extends a profound invitation: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Notice, Christ does not say, ‘if you feel like it’ or ‘should you find the time.’ As in Mark 6:31, Jesus again commands us to come to Him, promising rest as a certainty, not a possibility. This is not merely an offer of physical respite but a profound spiritual rejuvenation that comes from communion with Him.

This invitation is not just for the Christian; it’s for all people of all faiths and persuasions, and all ages, male and female. This is the creator offering life and rejuvenation. If a Jehovah’s Witness, Muslim, Buddhist, druid, or agnostic were to come to Christ, the promise would still remain true.

Whether we are discussing spiritual or physical lethargy and brokenness, merely being in Christ’s presence is therapeutic. In Acts, Peter addresses the crowd, urging them to change their minds (repent), so that times of refreshment may come from the Lord’s presence. What should we make of Matthew 11:28-30 (‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’) when the burden still feels heavy and the yoke or responsibility feels overwhelming?

What of those who are Christians and feel drained, weary, broken, and smashed up in life? In prayer, we make our situation known to God, but, let’s be honest, you may still feel the same way after – but praying about it is better than not doing so.

The “yoke” that Jesus offers is not a promise of an easy life devoid of challenge

 Matthew 11:28-30 offers comfort yet also poses a challenging paradox. It speaks to the rest and ease that comes from being yoked with Christ, yet many believers still experience burdens and overwhelming responsibilities. The thing is, Jesus said it – and He means it.

It’s part of the complex relationship between divine providence and human experience. The “yoke” that Jesus offers is not a promise of an easy life devoid of challenges; rather, it’s an invitation to a different kind of burden – one that is saturated with grace, purpose, and the sustaining power of Christ’s nearness and closeness.

The yoke of Christ can feel heavy in a world marred by sin and brokenness, but it is in this very brokenness that the grace of Christ shines brightest. Experience tells us (rather loudly) that our struggles do not disappear, but our perspective on them changes as we learn from Christ, who is ‘gentle and lowly in heart.’ This learning is not just intellectual, but experiential, as we walk in step with Him.

What we discover is rest that exists not in the absence of trouble, but in the midst of it, through the sustaining and transforming intimacy of the presence of Jesus.

There are obvious pastoral care and support mechanisms available in the life of the church, but, again, like talking with God, you also have to talk with others to make your predicament known.

The Psalms are useful in this way, echoing the theme of rest amidst weariness. Psalm 73:26 reflects a deep understanding of human frailty: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” This isn’t just poetic language; it’s a stark reality that our physical and emotional strength has limits, but God’s support does not.

Grace is sufficient – for you!

You might also find the Apostle Paul helpful when he addresses his own situation, in 2 Corinthians 12:9, where he shares a personal testament about finding strength in weakness: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” Paul’s message is clear: our weariness, far from disqualifying us, actually makes room for God’s power to work more effectively within us.

Its imperative for us to take these scriptural truths and apply them practically and assertively. This means creating environments and programs that actively encourage rest. It involves teaching the importance of Sabbath rest, not as a mere suggestion, but as a God-ordained commandment for our well-being.

Perhaps in leadership forums we need to address the issue that sometimes we are asking a lot of our people with multiple ministry demands. People have to do other things than the things that support the leaders “vision and focus”, simple things like shopping, visiting, spending time with their own unsaved loved ones who want a BBQ at exactly the same time as the leaders ‘big moment’. And sometimes, some of the saints are, well, exhausted. (And if we all worked the same shifts with the same manual labour as them perhaps we would be too!)

Grace-filled or grace-driven?

But life in the Christian community goes on and Churches must endeavour. to actively foster communities where burdens are shared; to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2) Sometimes this happens by sharing vision with clear communication that is grace-filled. The distinction between being “grace-filled” and “grace-driven” is significant, with the latter often leading to numerous issues.

The mindset of “We don’t have to do this – we should do this because it’s driven by grace” might be recognisable in the background of your hectic life. True grace, which emerges when we voluntarily share each other’s burdens, serves as a powerful remedy to the loneliness that frequently accompanies exhaustion.

Who should exemplify leadership in this matter? Clearly, it falls upon churches to set a positive example, ensuring their leaders avoid the pitfalls of burn-out. It’s vital for pastors and church leaders to demonstrate a harmonious balance of work and rest. By doing so, they not only affirm the importance of taking time for renewal but also establish a healthy precedent within the church community.

Time for a service

Like the components of a vehicle, our leaders often require maintenance – realignment, polishing, and rejuvenation – yet we frequently delay such care until signs of significant wear appear. The words of Jesus, offering refreshment to the weary, are too often left unheeded, like a neglected plaque on the wall.

In facing the challenge of exhaustion, we need a response that is robust, compassionate, and infused with grace, all while being anchored in Scriptural truths. Remember, even our Lord Jesus Christ, in His earthly ministry, recognised and embraced the need for rest. If even the Son of God sought such moments of tranquility, how much more do we require them?

Let’s embrace and frequently promote God’s gift of rest, not as a luxury, but as a frequent necessity for our spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

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