Serving others can be hard. You have many responsibilities. Then someone asks, “Are you busy?” Yes, you are busy. There are emails to write, articles to read, people to see, bills to pay, receipts to file, electronics to update, broken things to fix, places to clean, and much more. These days everyone seems to be busy and pulled in many directions.
In the Bible, the word ministry has the idea of serving. Ministry is called work (Eph. 4:12). The work (ministry) of serving others can lead to burnout – emotional, physical, social, and spiritual exhaustion. Be careful and protect yourself from burnout. You can become tired IN the ministry, but you should not become tired OF the ministry. What causes burnout?
Stress of Life – Life is hard. People, poverty, pressures, and even persecution, can test or strengthen your faith in God, (1 Peter 1:6).
Relationships – Someone said, “The ministry would be easy if there were no people.” There are times you face criticism, as Nehemiah (Neh 4:1-3); rejection, as Jeremiah (Jer. 20:14); and bitterness as Naomi (Ruth 1:20).
Physical or Health Problems – We all face problems with our bodies. Accept that your body has limits. Do not let your body control your God-given goals. Job had boils all over his body, and even Paul had a continuing “thorn.”
Sins of Others – People can be cruel. Just as you have sins and shortcomings, realize that other people are not perfect. They will hurt you when they sin (example: Gal. 5:19-21). Instead of becoming bitter, Moses begged God for mercy for other people (Ex. 32:32).
Little Spiritual Growth – Those who love to grow in Christ cannot understand why others refuse to grow. Paul called the Corinthian Christians “babes” or immature Christians. He could not teach them more (1 Corinthians 3).
Situations – Your car is wrecked, your child runs away, you lose your job, or your house burns down. Situations can greatly affect your life. (Ex: David’s son died – 2 Sam 12:15-23).
Pride – This may be the number one sin of our day. Even in Paul’s day, people divided because of pride (1 Cor. 1:12-13).
Disinterested People – You work, teach, help, and give of yourself, yet some people do not want your help. They seem to prefer the easy way rather than listening to truth (2 Tim. 4:10).
How to be Refreshed
Run to the Word of God – Man’s words can only give you temporary help. As you read and obey God’s Word, you find right motivation, helpful correction, and permanent direction in life (2 Timothy 3:16).
Right Priorities – You can choose what is good and miss what is best. Set right priorities and do the things that God desires for your life. Seek first the kingdom of God and other things will flow better (Matt 6:33).
Rest in God – Realize that you cannot control situations or others around you, but you can decide what you will do. Accept the fact that God will have His way (Philippians 2:12-13) and His way is always best (Rom. 8:28).
Renew Your Mind – Everyone needs times of refreshing physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. As Jesus developed in these ways, you must continually develop throughout your life. Renew your mind (Romans 12:2), discipline your body (1 Cor. 9:27), be humble to spread the Gospel (1 Cor. 9:19), and be a good example to others (1 Tim. 4:12).
Realize God’s Work – You are part of God’s work. Christians should do good works (Eph 2:10), but it is the Lord that works through us. “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Ps.127:1-2).
Rely on God’s strength – God delights in being strong through your weakness. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in (your) weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
Receive Rewards – Decide to continue and not quit. Jeremiah could not sit still, but knew he must continue (Jer 20:9). “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast (strong), unmoveable (stable), always abounding (fruitful) in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:58). There is a reward!
It is okay to be tired IN God’s work, but never become tired OF God’s work. It is a great honor to serve the Most High God!
Let the Redeemed Say So: “I grew up in a Christian home, going to church every week. At age ten, I went to the front of the church to receive Christ. I thought my decision saved me. Our family moved to Florida, where we got involved in a good church. I learned to lead other people to Christ and actively told others about Him. I began to realize that my heart was still unsettled about my salvation, but I was afraid of what other people would say if I got saved “again.” Finally, one Sunday morning I decided to make sure of my salvation. Again I went to the front of the church. This time I trusted Christ to save me – and He did! Praise God. Now I can confidently share Christ with others.” – Jon Barr