Devotional Thought of the Day:
Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. 1 Timothy 4:12b-16 (NLT)
207 An indispensable requirement in the apostolate is faith, which is often shown by constancy in speaking about God, even though the fruits are slow to appear. If we persevere and carry on in the firm conviction that the Lord wills it, signs of a Christian revolution will appear around you, everywhere. Some will follow the call, others will take their interior life seriously, and others—the weakest—will at least be forewarned.
It doesn’t matter whether I am a 52-year-old pastor, or a 19-year-old teaching Sunday School to a class of 25 2nd=8th graders. There is a point when you approach burnout.
Been there, done that, and it seems taken out on a lease on an apartment at that address at times. I’ve seen others there as well, and some crash and burn, and others persevere, not by the strength of character, or a stubborn will. For those things cannot last through burnout. There is something more, something internal, yet foreign. Something, dare I say it, supernatural, that sustains them.
It’s not just a matter of personal faith, but rather, the reason that we can have faith, that we can trust, that we can depend on the Lord.
Paul tells his young apprentice to keep focused on reading scriptures, using the word of God to encourage and teach them. As odd as this seems, it is a prescription for dealing with burnout. For there is something empowering when we see people receive that strength. Paul urges this young man to throw himself even more into the ministry, which seems counter-intuitive. Yet, if we focus on the work of God, we encounter Him, we find the Holy Spirit who strengthens and preserves us.
We see God is faithful, and because of His promises, we see people’s lives changed, as they are delivered from darkness into light, as we see their burdens lifted, and as we do, not only are we amazed, we find the perspective that enables us to endure.
St Josemaria speaks of the same thing as he talks of a faith that speaks with constancy about God. Sure, it isn’t as dramatic a change as some would prefer to see, but the change is far deeper, as people will come alongside in service. Others will grow deep in their appreciation of God’s love. Witnessing these things assures us that our burnout is not in vain and that we can endure, for the cost is worth it.
Assured of that, the burnout loses its grip on us. We still may be tired and weary, we may wonder if the trials will ever end, but that is not comparable to knowing this….
The Lord is with You!
Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 1073-1077). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.