Do you ever get tired of serving and sacrificing? I get that we can’t earn salvation, and that our faith and worth isn’t even defined by how much we give, but don’t you sometimes feel like you’re working so hard compared to others, and it’s not fair? the bible says that the harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few…I feel like those few faithful workers will have a tendency to burn out! thoughts? 🙂
You know, I think this is one of those things that everyone is afraid to say: and you said it. We all want to look like willing ready servants that are faithful to jump into the furnace, and I would even say: some of our hard work is actually people-pleasing and comparison and trying to earn salvation. Or, people are just afraid to say no because they don’t want to look lazy. After all, half of our generation lives in the Over-Productive Neurotically Over-Achieving Mega-Success era.
But like you said: Yes, we get tired. Mostly I get weary of serving those who eventually drop out of their race of faith anyway. I’ve poured sweat and tears and prayers into dozens of people who ended up going prodigal, and I always blame myself. I know that I shouldn’t. Other times, everyone expects Christian leaders and pastors to be superhuman, and we don’t find a comfortable rhythm of rest and work. This is especially true in my Asian Culture, when taking a break means you’ve dishonored your family lineage and a vacation means you’ve declared feudal war.
Burning out can also be a case of “wrong seat on the bus.” If you’re doing something you’re not called to do, then of course it’ll feel joyless. I don’t think all serving needs to be glamorous or laughs-a-minute, but I see tons of people who are gritting their teeth at church because they’re not maximizing their gifts in the right setting. Some are too prideful to let go, or they can’t imagine someone else taking over, or they’re just used to it. But you can work magic if you just switch a few spots. I’ve seen friends bloom in the right circumstances.
Continue reading “Question: Tired of Serving and Sacrificing”
The rising star in your church could just as quickly be a crashing fireball that burns out in seconds.
But at some point you need to quit punching yourself in the jaw and pick up your teeth from the tile.
Unless you held a gun at their head, it’s not your fault.
I know you’re mad at them, just as much as you’re mad at yourself. They were the ones who attended everything, who served every time, who called you at midnight when they were in trouble. You texted and emailed and Facebook chatted every day. You prayed over them on your knees at night, hoping God would lead them in incredible ways. You spent more time and money and energy on them than even your own family.
All for what? For them to cut you off like you never existed.
You could’ve done more, probably. There’s guilt about how you lashed out, how you could’ve made the church more cool, how you could’ve called more, wrote more, spent more.
But he’s gone. She left. You can leave the ninety-nine to get the one, but after all: there’s still ninety-nine.
Continue reading “It Doesn’t Always Stick: Quit Blaming Yourself Over The Prodigal”
At retreats, revivals, megachurches, and your average Sunday service, there is always someone in the back who has lost sense of it all. The music blaring, people hollering, lights piercing, front row hopping, lead singer strutting, fog machine fogging, and bass drum beating the guts out of your bowels. Right in the middle of it, you get detached and distracted and disillusioned and you see it for what it really is. Whether you’ve been in church for ten minutes or ten years, this whole stageshow can wear you down instantly. One Sunday you’re enveloped in bliss; the next Sunday you’re watching with arms crossed, a migraine setting in, every riff on the electric guitar an assault on your brain. Everyone else is singing triumphantly but you don’t get it anymore.
While we can chalk this up to an anti-institutional mind of a younger, skeptical generation, we do suspect that praise and worship in the local church has strayed from something pure, raw, real. We’ve flooded the congregation with so many artificial devices and cues that it’s hard to tell if the Spirit is actually working.
I’ve heard, “What you win them with is what you win them to.” When you show a funny video every Sunday with high-caliber production values, it creates a strange appetite for slick perfection. No need for the Spirit. No room for reliance. It’s scary to think that an entire church service full of thousands can be built without one move of the Holy Spirit himself.
The church should certainly be excellent at all it does; as D.C. Talk once said, “If it’s Christian, it oughta be better.” I am not a hipster advocating outdoor church with hemp-made chairs and a bearded surfer with a banjo. Yet when I read the Bible and look at today’s church, something is lost in translation. Most of all, that guy in the back with his arms crossed has lost intimacy with the King. He only sees the crude plastic scaffolding of desperate entertainers and pragmatic preachers, but none of it fully reveals God on His sovereign throne.
Continue reading “What About The Guy In The Back? – Why Bigger Worship Is Not Better Worship”