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When you’re bordering on burnout

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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This just in: the Centers for Disease Control now suggests that parents arrange for 18 immunizations plus the flu vaccine before their child turns nine months old.  If only they could invent a shot for burnout.

Years ago I found myself in such a state.  The needs of the congregation and community were great, but my supplies were not.  I spoke with a very wise minister on our staff, a dear friend who had learned how to maintain spiritual health and psychological balance in the midst of demanding challenges.  I asked how he kept his equilibrium and joy.  His response: “Their need does not constitute your call.”

He was right: worshiping and serving Jesus constitutes my call.  If I love him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, he will give me the ability to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:37-39).  If I measure success by the needs of others, I’ll never be finished or fulfilled.  Our culture measures us by what we do and who we impress.  Our Lord reverses the order: we are to please an audience of One and act accordingly.

My friend’s wise words were life-changing for me.  I thought of them again today when reading the June 19 essay in Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest:

“Our Lord’s first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father.  If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a door-mat.  The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ.”

Are you focusing on the work of the Lord or on the Lord of the work?