Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Creating A Balanced Life

By Judah Thomas

Ministry is tough. It is hard to explain to someone who has never worked in ministry before because it can be hard to put words behind it. You can run sound, video or lights for anything in the world, but once you start doing it for ministry it becomes tougher. It also becomes exponentially more meaningful and that is why we do it.
Why is it so tough? Well first off, we have an enemy. If you are running sound for a K.I.S.S. cover band at your local fair you will not have the spiritual resistance that you will have when you are running sound for a church service. I jokingly call it the demons in the system. It's not really a joke though.
1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.
You have a real and legitimate enemy who does not want God's Word to go out. This enemy will do any and everything he can to cause confusion and problems. I have experienced so many technical problems that cannot be explained other than as supernatural because everything worked fine before and after the service...but not during.
Serving in the context of a local church is also more meaningful because we are doing it for the glory of God. Every twist of the knob plays a critical part in people coming to Christ and having their lives transformed. As a result, our jobs go from something that is only experienced in the present setting to having an eternal impact. Sure, we may not be the ones up on stage delivering the message, but if it were not for us the message would not go out.
There is a problem in all of this. We are literally doing spiritual battle every week as we wrestle our equipment into submission. We also realize that a mistake or mishap can distract from the Message and cause people to stop focusing on God and ruin a moment where God's Spirit is moving. So we start to take things too seriously. We take ourselves too seriously. We realize how important we are to the Kingdom and we start to feel like we are irreplaceable.
This is a fast-track to burn out. We never miss a service because we know what is at stake. We work harder and longer than is healthy for our body, mind and soul. We find ourselves beginning to overheat and heading for a crash.
As ministers we need to balance out our passion for ministry with a systematic plan for rest and recovery. We see in Genesis 2:2 that God himself even took a day off, so how much more do we need it? You may feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, but it is not your burden to carry.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said that He would build the Church and the Gates of Hell couldn't stop it. Sometimes we think that it is our job to build the Church instead of Christ's, so we go as fast and hard as we can until we notice that the fuel gauge of our life is registering “empty.”

What you do is important, but you need to make sure that your life is balanced and your pace is sustainable for the long haul. This is even more important if you have a family. Taking time for rest is something that should work its way into every area of your life. When you do this you may feel like you are being lazy, but you are actually becoming more effective by taking time to rejuvenate.
You should take time each and every day for experiencing God through His Word and prayer. You should have at least one day each week that is spent resting and not doing anything ministry-related. Lastly if you have vacation time you must be willing to take it. For years I insisted on not taking my vacation time --- and thinking somehow this was earning me a badge of honor, when in reality it just drove me towards burn out.
As you incorporate rest into your life, you may think that you will be less effective than before. Conversely you will actually become more effective as you will be able to be more focused than ever.
Don't forget that we are running a marathon and not a sprint. Your pastor may even praise you for your long hours, but if you want to finish the race well make sure you follow God's example and take time to rest.

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