Have you ever found a sermon got better overnight? The sermon you were sweating over Saturday night suddenly becomes preachable on Sunday morning. I used to draft my sermons on Thursday and come home and say to my husband, “I drafted my sermon, but it’s terrible.” I took Friday off, and predictably and mysteriously the sermon got better by Saturday.
Sermons aren’t the only thing that benefit from setting aside. E-mails that get your anxiety up (you know: you read them and your heart starts pounding) probably shouldn’t be answered until tomorrow. A staff conflict that comes to a head: usually, you can say, “I’ll have to think about this.” Most of the time when you face a ministry dilemma, you can take the time to reflect on it. And you’ll make a better decision if you do so.
Of course, usually some action must be taken. The e-mail must be answered, the staff situation addressed, and of course that sermon has to be preached on Sunday. That may take courage on your part. But a thoughtful response is often (always?) better than your first, reactive response.
The old cliche, “sleep on it,” isn’t such a bad idea, after all.