When sharing the Gospel, God’s love for us, becomes a response to knowing that love and an outpouring of life rather than “doing ministry” one becomes filled and ministered to by love rather than feeling depleted or drained by ministering.
Ministry is a response.
Ministry is not a program.
Ministry is not a position.
Ministry is not a title.
Jesus ministered to thousands with two fish and five loaves of bread. (John 6:1-15) Jesus withdrew to be alone after ministering not from exhaustion or burn-out, but in obedience to God’s timing for him to take his place as king.
So often we read about, hear about and see believers burning-out from participating in ministry. There are books written and conferences created on this topic for pastors and church leaders on recovering after burn-out. The question is this…why are believers becoming depleted and drained and “stepping back” from ministry?
Could it be because we have allowed the definition of ministry to become distorted? For the believer diakonía (“ministry”) specifically refers to Spirit-empowered service guided by faith (“the Lord’s inbirthed persuasion“).
Ministering to others is the response to KNOWING the love of our Father. Knowing; He protects us. Knowing; He is for us. Knowing; He does not condemn us. Knowing; His love is unconditional and that our behavior does not dictate his level of love for us. When we KNOW this love we don’t make ministry a “do” or obligation. It becomes a response to being loved. Our obedience is an overflow of HIS love that responds in love to others. We don’t have to “try”, “strive”, “give effort”, or create a program to minister.
We come to KNOW this love by constantly and consistently studying His love, hearing His love, seeing His love and being encouraged by only His love.
We see and experience burn-out because the response of overflowing love is being replaced by the “need” and lack in programs. The “ministry program” becomes more important than the ministers and ones being ministered to. The focus is not on what we receive, but what is “expected” of us as believers in the Church. Instead of focusing on “doing ministry” we are better off focusing on the acceptance, love and grace we receive from Christ. This is where we are filled. This is where ministry derives from. Love. The love of Jesus.
Jesus. Always Jesus.
His overflowing love never fails.