It seems to go without saying, but if a minister’s personal life is in shambles, he is actually of little use to anyone. He can be especially ineffective and even detrimental serving in God’s ministry. Oh, I’m not saying that he can’t work for God, in fact ministry positions are constantly filled with individuals endlessly “working for God”. But when we as ministers neglect our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our health and family, we become ineffective in our service to God and we often fail to make the distinction between working for God and working with God. In those moments burnout is often just around the corner.
It is important that we take time daily with The Lord to worship Him and to enjoy His presence. In that quiet place we can hear His voice and determine His will for our lives. We can see more clearly where He is working and discover where He wants us to join Him. Spending time with Him also identifies areas in our life & His ministry which we are neglecting. In quiet moments with Him we can begin to regroup and prioritize.
(It’s then we can ponder two very important words: No & Yes…..)
Missionaries and Ministers tend to spend a good deal of time focusing on others. Our time and energies are used in meeting the needs of the poor, fulfilling the duties of the church…children’s home…soup kitchen…fill in the blank. We visit the sick, console the hurting, counsel the confused, and guide the lost. We prepare and preach sermons, evangelize the lost, organize training seminars, and lead worship. We scrub toilets, wash dishes, cut grass, plant trees, dig wells and paint walls. We build buildings, organize fundraisers, write grants and balance budgets. We pray, study the scripture, journal, blog and further our schooling. And we jump, anytime there is an emergency or when someone else needs us.
We are often the first to volunteer, among the first to arrive at church and among the last to leave. We respond to hateful emails, judgmental phone calls and angry individuals. Although our desire is to love others, often we hurt them unintentionally. And while we are doing all these things, time martches on, our families rarely see us, our marriages suffer and many times our kids are overlooked. In the name of faithfulness and devotion to God we exhaust ourselves for the “ministry”.
On rare occasion we slow down enough to hear the still small voice of The Lord calling us to another pace. Pleading with us not to neglect those dearest to us for the sake of “working” for Him or meeting others’ expectations. He assures us that nurturing our children is of utmost importance and sewing into our marriage is just as important as counseling another’s marriage. And we begin to understand that there is a difference between working for God and working with God.
Have you made that distinction?