Monday, January 31, 2011

If you're doing ministry

More thoughts from Dave Johnson's talk last Thursday at Bethel. Note: The longer I live with these ideas the more my own thoughts get interspersed ... so what you're getting is sort of a blending of Dave's presentation with my reflections. If it ticks you off, you're probably better off blaming me, not Dave.

The three main enemies of longevity in ministry are


So this time we'll deal with fatigue:

We get worn out and fatigued because we feel like we HAVE to keep on keeping on. Somewhere we got things mixed up -- instead of hearing Jesus say, "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11), we chant "The show must go on!" So we keep on keeping on. And we wear ourselves down to the nubs and get thoroughly fatigued.

When we are fatigued, we are unable to make good decisions, and often unable even to stop working. (Stopping takes energy.) Even successful ministry may wear us out. In fact, the more successful (in our own eyes) we are the harder time we may have letting go and stepping back. You never intended to let your soul get lean -- it just happens while your attention is elsewhere.

Here's the problem. Having the strength to say yes to the right and no to the wrong requires energy. You can't say "yes" and "no" appropriately when you are worn out. You simply say "whatever". This is the root cause of many, many moral failures in the lives of ministry leaders. They are simply fatigued beyond measure and so they have no resistance when a morally compromising situation presents itself.

The other reason is that many of us operate too much in the area where we see the Spirit's anointing in our lives -- this is good, by the way -- but we totally neglect the area of our own discernment of what is good and evil. This is simply part of Christian maturity, as the author of Hebrews says, "But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:14) So we need to get good at making SMALL moral choices -- choosing good over evil in many small ways, so that when the test that matters comes, we will not fall. This is simply what we try to teach our children - give them choices when they are small so by the time they're older they can make responsible choices for themselves. God is doing nothing less with us; but if we constantly avoid the hard choices -- even the small hard choices -- we will have little resistance when real temptation comes our way.

No comments:

Post a Comment