God gave Pastor G and me a prayer burden to intercede for a local congregation daily. He gave the pastor a vision of how to change seating arrangements during worship services to develop a small group feeling in a larger group of people. He then appointed facilitators to shepherd each table prayerfully and invite neighbors God sent across their path to worship with them. The program has proven successful, and we are blessed with new spiritual family members.
Every week, God places a prayer topic in our hearts regarding this outreach. Lately, two related topics continue to be prominent: first, that the facilitators not grow weary in well doing and second, that the facilitators not burden themselves so much that they burn out.
Not burning out is vital, since we have literally seen brothers and sisters literally serve themselves out of the church. Because they were so on fire and capable, the spiritual leaders increasingly tasked them and gave them more responsibilities. This led to an out of kilter worship experience where the brothers and sisters were literally too busy during worship times to stop, connect with God and enjoy corporate worship. Perhaps they were tasked as ushers, collection agents for contributions and tallying the donation amounts on the premises along with providing security services so the worship service could continue uninterrupted by well-intentioned curiosity seekers. I’ve experienced serving like that when I was responsible for greeting brethren and newcomers at the door, overseeing special services we provided to help the elderly, infirm and young parents with whatever they needed, making sure the women’s bathroom was clean and stocked with soap, toilet paper, paper towels and a changing table for those with infants and toddlers. After services, I oversaw a fundraising table that sold supermarket scrip that we purchased at a discount that the brethren could redeem at grocery stores nearby. Talk about always being on the go!
So, God reminded us of our service in times past and how draining it truly was even though it greatly benefited the congregation. We sensed His concern for the facilitators that they would be candidates for burnout just like we very well could have been. One thing He impressed upon us is the importance of emotionally distancing the self from others’ problems and not making them our own. As counselors, we are well aware that there’s a point where we can become ineffective if we overly involve ourselves in the lives of those God sends across our paths. That doesn’t mean we don’t care, but it does mean we need to be balanced so we can truly help productively. We’ve had to apply the principles of serenity prayer living and accept the things we can’t change, be instruments of change where we are able and trust God to show us the difference.
It’s important to consider Christ’s example and follow it in our own lives. The needs were always there, and so were the crowds. Jesus took time outs to be alone with the Father to be replenished and connect to and communicate with Him in prayer. It was only when He felt restored, replenished that He emerged to do and be what the Father had for Him to do and be. Scripture doesn’t say how often He did this, but we have enough information to know that He regularly practiced this time out.
Pray with me: Father God, thanks for showing me that I can join where You are working and be Your instrument of blessing to those You send across my path. Thanks for granting me all that I need so that I can be and do what You have for me to be and do. Thanks for Jesus my example to follow in taking time outs that can only serve to spiritually refresh and replenish me so that I can be about Your business effectively. Thanks for working through me to touch lives, sometimes in ways I may be unaware of. Thanks for making me so very aware that everything indeed begins and ends with You, for without You, I could not move forward in this anointing. In Jesus’ name, amen.
copyright 2015, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved