How can you know if you are you working hard and long enough? That you are doing the right activities?
Some people never get past the guilt of feeling they haven’t done enough. Others, if they were honest and counted the hours spent in ministry, use family needs and other obligations to rationalize part time hours in full time ministry.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28, 29, NKJV)
I don’t believe Jesus meant by these verses that we don’t need to exert strong effort to do his work, but there is a kind of work that feels like you are carrying a heavy burden. Serving out of constant guilt and feeling you can never do enough to please God doesn’t make for a joyful ministry or one that honors God.
When our busyness gets out of balance, and we feel stuck in dead end activities, it often affects our attitudes and quality of work. As you face a new year it’s a good idea to take time to evaluate your ministry. Balance in your ministry can give you freedom to please God in a new way.
These questions can help you evaluated the balance in your ministry:
- Am I actually giving full time hours to my full time ministry? Count them up once in a while and see.
- Am I flexible enough to make time for people, even when they come to me at an inconvenient time?
- Am I doing my ministry with vigor and enthusiasm?
- Am I pleasing God with the amount of hours I spend in ministry?
- Is my spouse and church comfortable with the time I spend in ministry?
- Do I resent the hours I spend in ministry?
Maybe you can see what needs to be done in your ministry, but feel too much of the work falls on your shoulders. What can you do when you feel overwhelmed by needs? These questions may lead you to better distribution of labor:
- What needs to be done that only I can do? If no one else can do it, maybe God wants you do to it.
- What needs to be done that someone else could do? Maybe you need to find someone else to do some things, even if you have to train them to do jobs and allow them time to grow into them.
- What doesn’t need to be done at all? Often we keep activities on the church calendar just because we’re hesitant to remove something that’s already going. If you don’t have time to do these things and no one else wants to do them, maybe that’s a sign that that job should be discontinued.
God has a plan for your ministry. We need balance in our ministries as we do God’s work in his way for his glory. May the new year bring blessings in your ministry as you seek to honor him.
Next week: Should I be able to pursue other interests besides ministry? What if I feel God has given me a side ministry beside my main ministry? How can I balance that?
[Of course, the amount of time and labor is not the only part of your ministry which needs to be evaluated. Warren Wiersbe says, “Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.” This definition takes into account reliance on God, situation of ministry, attitude, and motivation. Those are also important concepts, but they are beyond the scope of this article. Wiersbe writes five excellent chapters on those concepts, and I won’t try to duplicate that. For more information read: On Being a Servant of God, by Warren W. Wiersbe.]