Should missionaries take vacation?

"What does someone like you do all week?"

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten this question (or some variant of it).

Missionaries and people in ministry do work that's a little hard to understand.  You see your pastor preach on Sunday, but don't see him all week.  You see a missionary even less (often just when they're in town fundraising).  This makes it tough to understand what we do all week.

Some folks actually think that ministry jobs are 2-3 hour a week jobs.  And why shouldn't they?  That's all they see us doing.  And, even more, there are churches all over the world and missions agencies all over the world that are led by folks who work bi-vocationally.

And this makes the whole idea of vacation a little weird.

InterVarsity gives us 20 days of vacation every year, but we also do the sort of salary work which never really gets done.  It's hard to get away.  Over the last 7 years, I've never taken all of my vacation days.  Never even taken half.  I feel weird taking vacation.

But those vacation days are there for a reason ...

Vacations keep us sane and rested
Vacations open up time for us to be with our wives and kids
Vacations serve as non-financial compensation
Vacations remind us that the ministry is not on our shoulders
Vacations give space for our leaders to lead
Vacations recharge us between seasons of ministry

What do you think?  Should missionaries take vacation?

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