I love to disciple and train people in, and for the ministry. In doing so, an intentional habit is to impart valuable lessons I’ve learned through the years. Ministry has been extremely fun, challenging, adventurous and fulfilling for me, but I can also recall seasons where ministry seemed to be the cause of my agony. To be honest, at a certain moment I had to realize and to admit that it was my perspective and not so much the ministry that caused the misery. The truth was that I got distracted while doing the Lords work, I considered myself close to His purpose, not realizing how far I was from His presence.We might be able to keep the appearance for a while, but in the course of time we will suffer a severe burnout, and we should be able recognizing it before it is too late.
The Misery of Ministry becomes evident as we get distracted in doing ministry and we start to display 3 symptoms;
Complaining: This symptom occurs when we worry so much and are to busy looking at the problems; excitement becomes anxiety, worship becomes work and desire becomes duty. This is the part where our time, energy and even our finances are being used to fuel the drive to express our grief, pain, or discontent. We become so unpleasant to be around that slowly but surely even the closest people start distancing themselves from us.
If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it. – Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book
Comparing: When people start avoiding us, and involve themselves in activities other then those that occupy us, our reaction is to get upset. We become so caught up with ourselves, that I and what I do become the object of importance, and everything -and everybody else is subject to it. We compare everybody in our surrounding with ourself, and expect them to become exactly like us; a hot tempered task oriented sourpuss!
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself – Max Ehrman
Controlling: In order to gain control we start to manipulate the authority which is placed over us and try to make them part of our team. We expect from our leaders, even from God to make our urgency their priority. Our way of thinking has become; “It’s not what can I do for God, but what should God do for me.” We operate in a mode of despair, emergency to the point of panic, and we loose control of ourself.
You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. – Brian Tracy
When I start to recognize these symptoms within my own live, or when others make me aware of them, then it’s time for me to ‘step on the brake‘ and adjust my priorities. Always keep in mind, we can let ministry wait, but Jesus we should not! Ministry is servanthood and it was a servant’s work to attend the feet. Return to the feet of Jesus, to listen to what He says. There is so much that asks our attention and so many things required to be done, but only one thing is needed. We should chose what is better, and which can not be taken away from us. Ministry will always be there…
It is one of the ironies of the ministry that the very man who works in God’s name is often hardest to find time for God. The parents of Jesus lost Him at Church, and they were not the last ones to lose Him there. – Vance Havner, baptist preacher