‘…Created in Christ Jesus to do good works…’ Ephesians 2:10 NIV
We were saved to serve, not sit on the sidelines. But even in our appointed slot, overload is possible. We love serving the Lord, yet sometimes our attitudes stress us. The toxic mix of inadequacy and perfectionism in serving leads to burnout. It pushes us to behave obsessively and compulsively, decreasing our joy and increasing our tension. We feel trapped. We don’t know whether to quit and feel bad, or keep going and feel overwhelmed. So we either become overly responsible by carrying our own workload plus everybody else’s, or drop out, leaving everything to others. What’s the solution? First, we must stop serving to please others. It’s the wrong motive and never works. And when it doesn’t, we work harder for approval and end up disappointed. Paul writes, ‘…I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.’ (Galatians 1:10 NLT) Our ‘well done’ must come from God, not people. Secondly, we must stop serving in our own strength. Jesus said, ‘…The Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.’ (John 5:19 NLT) Like hand in glove, they move together. That’s cooperation and interdependency. ‘…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.’ (John 15:4 NIV) It’s how Paul served. ‘…I labour, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.’ (Colossians 1:29 NIV). He worked hard, but the energy was God’s, not his. So we must remember our source of effectiveness, and we’ll reduce the stress of serving.
SoulFood: Job 5-7, Luke 16:19-31, Ps 26, Pr 7:26-27