Ministry and Missionary Workers who are heavily involved in the Lord’s work are usually so absorbed with taking care of others that they neglect to properly care for themselves.
Years ago when I was Nursery Coordinator for a large congregation, I had to undergo many failures before I finally learned how to rest. When I wasn’t rested and refreshed, there was no way I’d be any good to those I served. Remember this passage:
21Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. 22Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace. . . . (Exodus 18:21-23)
In order to become a more effective minister of God’s word, there are several things you must do. They are:
1. Don’t set out on a mission or go into a ministry without a life jacket.
– Be well-equipped (or well-versed) in the word of God. You can’t teach what you don’t know.
– Have a well-established prayer life. Don’t pray only when things go bad; pray always, and pray about everything. To lead without seeking God is like the blind leading the blind. We can do nothing without his counsel and leadership. Our earthly wisdom will not go far enough.
– Memorize songs of thanksgiving. We forget that songs of thanksgiving are expressions of our joy in Christ Jesus. Express your joy through song. These songs of praise and thanksgiving will also refresh your spirit.
– Daily remind yourself of your priorities: God first, spouse second, children, local church family, those in need. The moment you get these priorities out of order, expect trouble. Watch for warning signs that indicate you’re spending too much time outside of the home. What good is your ministry to the world, if you can’t first take care of your home? Our diligent service to our families is a testament to the world.
2. Accountability with a purpose.
– Choose spiritually strong individuals who will hold you accountable. You want people in your life who will not “sugarcoat” issues that cause you to stray and disrupt your relationship with God and with your family.
Don’t buy into the idea that you can walk this Christian life alone. Though we constantly fail one another, we are to keep fighting the good fight and press forward. Relationships are messy, no matter how few or how many you may have. It’s better to pray for and continue your pursuit for meaningful relationships than to muddle through life alone. Don’t buy into Satan’s schemes by allowing him to convince you that you can do this all by yourself.
– Share weaknesses and stumbling blocks that you experience in your ministry work.
– Plead with these individuals to pray for you.
– Meet and share with these individuals on a regular basis. Be mindful not to treat these meetings as gripe or gossip sessions. This is about your relationship with God and if you are aligned with his will.
3. Set aside specific times to sit and do nothing.
– Plan the day, week, month, time, and place to have your quiet time.
– Be responsible by informing your family and other ministry workers that you are taking time off for yourself. For safety reasons, be sure to give them a return date, a phone number, and a place you can be reached in case of an emergency.
– Quiet time is so important that Jesus Christ went to the mountain to pray and rest. Notice in John 6:3 below, Jesus has led his disciples up a mountain, pulled them aside, and the crowd is still waiting.
12It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles . . . (Luke 6:12-13)
2A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. 3Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. (John 6:2-3)
– Take a fresh look at reasons for having quiet time: (a) it allows you to rest; (b) it offers you a moment to refuel; (c) it gives you more opportunity to commune with God; and (d) it helps you look at things from a different perspective.
4. Self-Reflect / Introspect.
Meaning: Introspection is the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings. (Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introspection)
– Self-reflection is a key element needed in order to become an effective minister of God’s word. During your quiet time:
— self-reflect by re-examining your spiritual purpose / ministry;
— meditate and pray;
— sing spiritual songs;
— recite / memorize new passages of scripture;
— remember the trials and tribulations God brought you through; and
— remember God’s blessings in as much detail as possible.
– Visit your favorite beauty salon / barber shop.
– Indulge in a spa treatment.
– Take a walk (no jogging; you are to rest, not continue a rigorous schedule).
– Wake early. Sit with God . . . just sit in his presence. Drink tea / coffee and admire God’s beauty from a porch or mountainside.
– Soak in a bubble bath (don’t shower – showers are quick and easy; remember you are trying to slow down and refuel).
– Take a nap or gaze at the stars at nightfall.
6. Seek Help With Your Ministry.
– Don’t be afraid to revisit with those of whom you’ve previously solicited help. These people might be in a better position to offer you assistance with your ministry.
Stopping long enough to refuel is hard. I constantly battle with physical and mental exhaustion. At times, I’m not aware that I’m on overload until it’s too late. It’s only then that I’m forced to stop everything and regroup. If I don’t stop, it will take me twice as long to get back up. I have come to the realization that if I’m to be an effective sister in Christ Jesus, I must:
12. . . work out your (my own) salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)
If I don’t rest, I won’t be able to:
14Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. 17But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. (Philippians 2:14-17)
And neither will I be able to:
- Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)
- Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)
Being overwhelmed is a real issue in the family of God. We must be diligent to overcome this weakness by implementing a plan of attack against this stumbling block.
Hopefully, these steps will help reboost your energy and stabilize your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. I pray you will spend more time with God and become an effective leader in the church . . . rather than an exhausted leader.
May your love for the Lord grow deeper each day.
Donna B. Comeaux
No notable pedigrees, other than being
your sister in Christ Jesus our Lord
(as originally published in the 2015 Autumn Issue of Ruby for Women at http://www.rubyforwomen.com)