I’ve wondered at various times in my ministry if I was heading for burnout. There are times when it seems like I’m just churning away, getting nowhere, burning up all my fuel. I used to think that all I needed to do was just spend more time reading Scripture to solve that problem. More fuel = more fire, right?
Besides the obvious problem of thinking that simply cramming more Bible-time into an overworked life will automatically result in peace and tranquility, Bible knowledge just isn’t the fuel that I need. Don’t read that wrong. I didn’t say that the Bible is not needed or necessary. We can’t live without it. We can’t really minister without it.
But God Himself is the only power sufficient for ministry. If I’m doing ministry out of anything other than His Heart ~ I’ll cook myself. God wants me as a living sacrifice, not a charred carcass that only vaguely resembles the life that once dwelt within it. One of my favorite passages is Philippians 2, where Paul points to Jesus’ humility as the attitude that we should have… It’s God working in us… Do everything without complaining… hold out the word of life… As I read this passage this morning I couldn’t help but think of times of spiritual exhaustion when those words are clouded in my life.
Mark Driscoll has posted a number of videos about burnout and related issues called “Death by Ministry” on his Resurgence site. If you’ve ever just felt ‘run over’, take some time to check them out. I got a lot out of the first 7 sessions and will listen to the last 4 when I get back from this week’s student leadership retreat. (A couple days of camping, backpacking, & climbing will be rough on my out of shape body, but great for my tired soul!)