While traveling to visit my daughter for the weekend, we once again commented on the name of a church that catches our eye every trip. The sign on the front lawn reads “Burnout Missionary Baptist Church.” For the past year, I have wondered if this congregation was formed by a group of people who had joined together with like mind because of the fatigue, stress, and overwork that is the very definition of burnout. Perhaps, I thought, the burnout was due to the demands of work, family and life in general.
However, burnout is a word also commonly associated with dedicated church members who, though meaning well, sometimes overload themselves in an attempt to fill any vacancy before checking in with God for His directive on the matter. Could it be that this was a haven of restoration for those who had exhausted themselves for Jesus?
Often, when it comes to church matters, it may feel wrong to say “no” when asked to take on a new responsibility. If there is a need we think, “Surely Jesus would want me to fill that need even if I am already in charge of three other important ministries. Why no one else is stepping forward and three people have already declined the position. Who else will do this if I don’t!”
You need to rethink your actions here for two reasons. The first reason is the fact that God might have someone besides you that He has gifted for the position, and, if you jump in, you take that ministry opportunity away from them. The second reason is that you will not be as effective in the area God has equipped you for in ministry if you are stretched too thin and giving energy to areas that are not a part of God’s purpose for you.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
This verse should serve as a reminder to all of us that God does not intend for us to live out our days overwhelmed and suffering from burnout. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We can find the truth in that by being close enough in relationship with the Father that we know exactly what His will for us is. And we when are walking that closely with the Lord, He will always be there to help us with the burden’s of this life. We do not have to carry them alone, and from these burdens we learn valuable lessons that mature us in our Christian walk.
As I close, I must admit that for the first time ever I happened to notice the water tower located just past the church mentioned above where, of course, the name of the town was proudly displayed…Burnout! That is the name of the town itself! And there I had so wrongly made assumptions about the church. Still, I hope this gives you pause to ponder if you are on the path to burnout of your own choosing. God has peace and rest instead! Avail yourself to His plans for your life! To God Be the Glory!