1. Furlough allows the missionary to rest.
God has created us to work but also to need to rest. In the very beginning, God shows us the order of a 6 day work week and a day of rest. The day of rest is not just about ceasing from labour but about spending time cultivating our relationship with God, the One in whom we ultimately find rest. As God told Moses in Exodus 33:14, “And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
On the mission field, the missionary who is doing his job and working hard will find that he can grow very tired with the work. There are numerous church services, visiting mission teams, lots of sermon and note preparation, Bible institute/college, outreach, and the often time-consuming work of taking care of basic needs. The missionary has to work at investing in people, training leaders, and building a church usually from nothing, as well as keep in communication with family and churches in his home country. All of this combined with the the spiritual-warfare aspect of mission work can be very tiring and exhausting.
A furlough, if done right, should allow the missionary to get some needed rest physically, mentally, and emotionally.
2. Furlough allows the missionary to learn and grow.
On the mission field, the missionary often neglects his own personal growth and learning. He is constantly preparing material and teaching others, so he may not make the time to learn and grow as a person and a leader.
On furlough, the missionary should take the time to read, attend conferences, talk to mentors and spiritual counsellors, and invest in his personal growth.
I have really enjoyed reading quite a few books during the last 5 months, and I am looking forward reading others. I have been able to be a part of the missionary classes at our home church and spending time with my pastor and other Godly men of God.
3. Furlough allows the missionary to evaluate and plan.
Sometimes we are so busy working in the ministry that we don’t work on the ministry. Stepping back from the mission field is a great opportunity to evaluate what you have learning, what you have accomplishes, what mistakes you have made, what you would like to change, and what God future plans for your ministry might be.
The greatest need in world missions is not more money but more laborers. Men are God’s method for getting the gospel to the world. So if our laborers wear out, get discouraged, don’t grow and learn, or quit, the work will come to a standstill. That is why Jesus said to His disciples Mark 6:31 “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” We must encourage those in ministry to take a furlough so they can return refreshed and the work can go on.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below…