“I love serving! Well, at least I used to, now I’m just fried.”
Sound familiar? Before you hop on the couch, let’s rewind to the reason you started serving.
There are many reasons why we give our time and serve. For some, it might be a way to “give back” to the church. For others, it may be to find a community to hang out with. And, if we’re honest, some of us serve because we feel a certain sense of self-value or pride.
Now I know you may be thinking a few of these reasons aren’t half-bad. I agree. But our aim is not to become half-good, burnouts, right?
The reason we serve is the foundation that either encourages burn out or protects us from it. I believe a servant’s heart must be rooted in what Jesus taught through The LORD’s Prayer. Check it out:
“So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” – Luke 11:2-4 (NKJV)
When Jesus prayed, “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” He was reminding us that serving is not about us trying to be perfect, but about us acknowledging and entering into His excellence. It’s desiring to honor God just because of Who He is and what He has done. It is offering Him the gifts and talents He so freely gave us for His namesake. When we serve, we literally are telling God He is our King, worthy all that we are. That He is the center of our world and we are in awe of Him and can’t help but surrender.
The secret here is, once we serve according to who He is by the gifts He equipped us with, serving becomes as natural as breathing. To put it simply, burn out is less because you were created for it.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus was about His Father’s business. He saw something better from the physical world around Him and lived accordingly. When Jesus served, it wasn’t for an earthly kingdom, but for His Father’s kingdom. Shouldn’t we do the same? Think about it this way. If we serve for an earthly kingdom we are limited to earthly resources, but if we serve solely for His kingdom, we then have accesses to heaven’s power. In heaven, there is everlasting joy and fellowship with the Trinity. God is not limited, we are. If this is true then we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and truly gain our strength from Him.
Life is rough, but Christ’s blood is stronger. Servicing for King Jesus is tough, but when we surrender according to His will, we gain His strength and become a force to reckon with.
“Give us day by day our daily bread.” God sustains us, period. If we resist Him, we burn out physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Then what? Don’t cut your King short when serving, living, breathing—well; it’s pretty much a stupid idea to cut communication with the One Who sustains you. When I have a lot going on, I talk to those closest to me. My dearest friends know my story, what stresses me out, my concerns, excitement, fears, hopes, dreams, and joys. They know and can invest in my life because I give them permission too in the act of sharing. The same is true with Jesus; we have to spend time with Him. Not to check Him off your list, but to truly invite Him in. This may be a shocker, but nobody loves you like Jesus does (and He knows everything about you). Will you take the time to listen to the one that knows every detail and possibility, but more importantly the best course to take? It only logical to talk to Him.
We are to be God’s vessels that pour out and serve from an overflow from our relationship with Him. If you’re never filled up by Him, then what will you pour out?
“And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” Forgiveness is so very important as we serve because it brings freedom! What happens when you hit your shin on a drawer sticking out? It hurts like nothing else and could leave a nice bruise. After a day you may forget about it, but graze it again and you remember the pain from yesterday. Jesus doesn’t want you to live in yesterday’s pain. He wants to heal you from your sin and from the sin others have done against you. We are not called to walk around beat up and bruised. This is what it’s like to serve without first asking God to forgive us and forgiving others as well. I don’t know what you’ve experienced, but I can tell you that Jesus is the only One Who can heal you. He is the only One Who can heal you. There is no limit to what He can do if only you let Him into the hurt and pain.
Don’t let your sin (or anyone else’s) distract you. He is faithful. He loves you. He desires for you to be whole and serve from a place of freedom.
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” We’re not perfect. We are beings who need the Holy Spirit’s leading to keep us from doing evil. When serving we need to be aware of our weaknesses and quick to repent. Sin clouds our minds and will mess with how we serve. Sure you can live two lives, one on Sunday, and another the rest of the week, but you will not be able to maintain this lifestyle. It will eat you from the inside out. Don’t let this happen to you. God is faithful to forgive, but it’s your part to give over your sin and ask the Holy Spirit to keep you from living a lifestyle that is not worthy of the Gospel.
You can even invite other believers to walk alongside you in your journey. If you are unsure who to invite ask God and he will provide someone.
Before you chow down on that box of Oreos and throw in the towel in regards to serving, consider the LORD’s Prayer. Jesus was about bringing God’s kingdom to earth and He knew what He was doing when He invited you to participate. If we could fast-forward to heaven and see the end result of how God used us in the here and now, there is no doubt in my mind that we would pray, live, and serve as Jesus did.
With that, know there is a place for you in your Father’s house. A place only you can fill. There are also others He intends to invite through you.
These are exciting times!
Over the next few days take some time to pray about the places you may be experiencing Burn Out in your life. Ask God to start a new fire in you and then rely on Him to keep that fire burning.