When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
John 6:5-6, New International Version
True rest is lost when our passion for ministry is replaced by pressure.
In the gospel, rest has nothing to do with idleness or inertia. Rather, rest is the directed activity of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives so that we are to serve more effectively and productively.
When we find ourselves in a place where we no longer have the drive or energy to live and serve for God's glory—it is good to ask God to nurture in us the same attitude like Jesus before we end up hating what we used to love.
Most times, what has gone wrong in ministry is that we do not realise or have forgotten that God is more interested in growing us than growing our ministry. When we and God don't share the same priority and desire, we are actually frustrating ourselves and frustrating what God is doing.
The Apostle John says that Jesus was testing Philip to see who he places his faith in when faced with such a seemingly impossible situation. The answer is obvious. Unless God increases your ability to trust Him more fully, your capacity to step out in faith is naturally limited by fear and self effort. In Philip's hands, the five loaves and two fish stay the same. However, when they were in Jesus' hands, five thousand men and their families were fed.
While the disciples felt the pressure to produce results, Jesus didn't.
When your ministry is not done out of rest, you are depending on your ability to produce rather than God's ability to perform in and through you. God wants your ministry to flow from your intimate friendship with Him. Then your service is a blessing to God and a blessing of God, and not a burden forced upon you.
The miracle of the five loaves and two fish was a demonstration of rest at work. Rest is living out of the revelation of your identity as a son or daughter of God. In doing so, faith flows without effort and it will set you free from all the fears and pressure of ministry.