When Ministry Exhausts You, Head 'Back to the Jordan'
- 2008 28 Oct
“I wish I had your job. You get to travel, meet new people, teach the Word.”
No doubt I love my job. I don’t like being in airports so much – packing, unpacking, praying over baggage conveyor belts (please, Lord, let my luggage come out of the chute). Meeting new people is a hardship for me, as is sleeping in hotel rooms without my family close by and getting far too little sleep. But other than that…
I speak at a lot of women’s retreats. For those who attend, (hopefully) it is a time of physical relaxation and spiritual regeneration. For me, it’s a lot of fun mixed with a boatload of work. Ministry can be a taxing occupation and calling. But when you’re called, you’re called. Not doing what God has required of you is more difficult than the labor.
Here’s another line I hear quite often: “Singing praise music all weekend and then being in the Word… I bet you come home super-charged for Jesus!”
Sometimes. What most people don’t realize is all the work that goes on behind the scenes – the last minute technical problems… the last minute instructions from the Spirit that send me spinning in a new direction… the inner prayer that searches the deepest part of God in order to bring Him to the hearts of others.
What keeps me going at times is the knowledge that I’m not alone. Even the Son of God met with problems in His ministry; problems that left Him world-weary and exhausted.
Are You or Aren’t You?
It was the Feast of Dedication — Hanukkah — around 29 AD. Jesus was in
“Just tell us plainly,” they demanded.
Jesus reminded them that He had told them plainly. The problem was they didn’t believe. They didn’t “get it.” Sure, they’d seen His miracles and they’d heard Him say it was all done in the name of His Father. “But you do not believe because you are not my sheep,” He told them.
It must have been difficult to say. “I know my sheep… they follow me… I give them eternal life… no one can snatch them from my hand… I and the Father are one.”
The people were furious and attempted to stone Him. Again.
Jesus stood His ground. “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
Not for the miracles, they said. Who could be upset about miracles? Instead, their fury was about blasphemy; His claiming to be God.
Isn’t that what they’d asked Him earlier? Isn’t that what they wanted from Him?
Again Jesus stood His ground and again they tried to stone Him. This time, however, He was able to escape their grasp.
I suppose in some ways it’s a technical difficulty; having those you came to save — the very ones you created — turn on you. It’s enough to make even the Son of God weary, exhausted, and ready for His own retreat.
Back to the
It was also my
Before Jesus began His three-and-a-half-year ministry, He went to the
But Jesus insisted and as Jesus came out of the water, the Spirit of God lighted on Him like a dove while the Father spoke, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”
For those who witnessed it, it was more than just seeing the Son of God baptized. It was seeing the Son of God and the Spirit of God while hearing the voice of the Father. It was an empowering moment and easy for anyone to understand how it could set the spark of ministry to flame.
After Jesus’ near-stoning, He returned to the
Sometimes we just need to go back to where it all began, to be reminded, to be refreshed, and to help others believe.
Eva Marie Everson’s most current work is Reflections of God’s Holy Land: A Personal Journey Through Israel (Thomas Nelson/Nelson Bibles). For more information about the book and Eva Marie's speaking topics, go t www.evamarieeverson.com