Summary: How burnout affects us
Intro: Did you ever try to start a campfire? How about with wet wood? It’s not always as easy as it looks on the camping shows. I remember once Ronda had taken her class of 2nd graders camping. I came along for the evening program. While they were playing games, I was supposed to get a campfire going. I can remember the wood was all wet, and the ground was wet. I remember getting lots of newspaper. I stuck it under the twigs, lit the paper, and a fire started. It wasn’t long until I realized that my fire was having problems. I quickly ran back to the supply building and rooted for some gasoline. I went back to the struggling fire, and by this time all the kids were gathered around. I threw the gasoline on the fire, and flames went soaring up to the sky, but in about a minute, the flame had died back down to the poor struggling flame I had before. It took about two more doses of gas, and about 15 minutes to get the flame where kids could roast marshmallows and hot dogs on it.
Think about it - I could burn up a quart of gas in a minute. Yet, if I put just a few ounces in a small plastic container, a lighter, I can have a steady, controlled flame for hours. The best fire is going to be produced by a steady flame.
Now think about our Christian lives. What God desires is not someone who will get all excited during a week of revival meetings, come every night, sit on the front pew, and walk the aisle a few times. Rather, what he desires is some who will consistently walk with God day after day. We’ve been talking the past few weeks about snares of Satan. One of his strongest snares is the snare of burnout. He gets us to give up the fight. Actually, this morning, I would like us to look at three different aspects of this: burning out, getting wrapped up, and getting worn out. Let’s look at God’s word and see where we see ourselves. Shall we pray . . .
I. Burn Out - When we are busy doing good - Moses: Exodus 18
Read 18:1, 13-27. Moses is a great example of a godly man who was burning out. He just was doing too much. Yet, he was doing it for the Lord. he was a busy man, doing good, but destroying himself in the process. Lest any of us forget, we are only human! There’s only so much we can do. no matter what anyone thinks or prays for, there are only 24 hours in a day. Hezekiah and Joshua are the only ones who ever got more time in a day.
Let’s learn some lessons from Moses. First, we need to let others help us. Often we do things alone. We think it is easier. We think no one else will do it just like we do. Often we give in to the tyranny of the urgent. The truth is, that often it takes us longer to show someone what to do than to do it ourselves. Yet, if we would take a little time to train others to help, it could be a great relief for us. I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with this. For example, if anyone would like to make the coffee Sunday mornings before the service starts, I’d be glad to show you what to do. If anyone is willing to take the Sunday school attendance and collect the offerings, I’d be glad to show you what needs done. Moses was doing all the small work himself, not letting others get involved. Let’s not let failure to delegate burn us out.
Often others expect us to do things for them that they should be doing for themselves. Look at verse 20 - the reason Moses was to teach them the law was so they would know what they should and should not be doing. Often we don’t want to read our Bibles and figure out God’s truth: we want someone to tell it to us in a plain, simple way that a five year old can understand. Yet, while much of God’s word can be understood by five year olds, there is much deep truth that 50 year olds in the faith struggle with.
So many people use the excuse that they aren’t being fed. Dick Eastman tells them, “Get your own fork!” It’s not the job of the pastor or board or church or any other person to do for us what we should be doing ourselves. Let’s make sure that we help people where they need help, but let’s not do for others what they need to be doing for themselves.