Last week I posted the intro to a talk on work and service. Here are the rest of the points. (If you want to watch the video, it’s on YouTube.)
God is a God who works, and His people are designed to imitate Him that way. And it begins at salvation. God didn’t save us for nothing. Ephesians 2:10 says For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
But because we’ve chosen to follow God, to accept His commission, we become the enemy’s target and a whole host of issues can interfere with our work and service. We’ll look at some of those issues, and some strategies we can use to minimize their impact on our effectiveness.
We are underappreciated. Often we work alone or unnoticed. No one knows how many extra hours we put in, how many times we are the first ones at church or the last ones to leave.
RESPONSE: We need to become each other’s advocates. Be a blessing and an encouragement to someone else. This goes double for your pastor and other leaders. So much of the time the only feedback they receive is negative.
We get tired. In an age when we have more comfortable beds, better, safer surroundings than ever before, we are less rested than we have ever been.
RESPONSE: God modeled rest for us as well. While the Bible never encourages laziness, Scripture does confirm our need to rest. Start by resolving to go to bed early one night a week or to take a Sunday afternoon nap. Rest is good. God said so. If we don’t rest…
We burnout. We’ve had periods where it seemed like we had church functions 5 out of 6 nights a week and 3 on Sunday. If that’s your life, you can’t sustain that. The best way to tell if you’re careening towards burnout is to check your level of JOY. If your joy has faded, then it may be time to do some objective evaluation of what you’re doing, and why.
RESPONSE: Refocus on God. Worship and service is about that one-to-one relationship. Try getting away for a weekend, a day, or even an afternoon. Leave your phone and spend some time alone with God and rediscover the JOY of your relationship.
We get stuck doing things we were never meant to do. Bless you for being willing to step in and work outside your giftedness, but that’s an indication that someone else should be stepping in.
RESPONSE: Don’t be afraid to talk to your leadership and work with them to identify and train someone to take over. Don’t let yourself feel guilty or lazy. When we take on things we weren’t meant to do.
We start to believe that if we don’t do it, it won’t get done. We become ministry hogs. We start get a little full of ourselves and start to believe God is really lucky to have us on His team. Worse, we prevent other people from using their gifts, from working and serving. We send the message – “There’s no place for you. You aren’t needed.”
RESPONSE: Look at the Biblical model – Paul and Peter were always pulling a young guy along with them. They were constantly turning the reins of ministry over to somebody else. We need to approach work with the mindset of working ourselves out of a job rather than settling in for life.
We mistake success for God’s favor and so we put tremendous pressure on ourselves. We feel like we have to do everything, and do it to perfection or we’ll be letting God down.
RESPONSE: Two radical words – Good enough. Trust God to bless your FAITHFULNESS, and not the results. Trust God to use what you’ve offered and let it go. Be like the kid with the loaves and fishes. What he had was totally inadequate to do the job of feeding the crowd, but he turned it over to Jesus – he LET GO of it – and because he did, Jesus did miraculous things with it.
We begin to compare ourselves to others, and we get embittered toward our fellow believers, our fellow laborers, and maybe even God Himself.
RESPONSE: Rather than use other believers as our measuring stick, try answering these two questions. Did I do what God asked me to do today? Did my interactions with other people reflect and glorify Jesus Christ?
So when frustration is high and energy is low remember this. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10
God sees. You are NOT laboring in the shadows. If no one else notices, God does and He is keeping records. And one day you will hear Him say, “Well done.”