The football analogy is a good one: the church is like 22 football players on the field desperately in need of rest, being watched by thousands of people in the stands who are desperately in need of exercise.
A wise friend and Elder once told me, “Darrell, you preach with more joy when you play golf more often.”
I played golf more often when I invited the people of God down onto the field.
Last week our quick look at Exodus 18, (Jethro confronting Moses about doing it all himself), skipped past the joy of all those who got in the game! I can just imagine the leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens beaming with the satisfaction of knowing they were making a difference in the lives of all those people stuck in the Moses Waiting Line.
I can even imagine the joy they felt over giving the Lord’s servant Moses the break he needed so that he could flourish for the next forty years of ministry (and play more golf).
Jethro held the key that unloosed God’s gift of joy in ministry.
Moses and the appointed leaders, turned loose for service, found the joy of serving God’s people according to their various gifts. Joy for Moses over a lighter load. Joy for the leaders in their contribution to the kingdom. Joy for the people who didn’t have to wait in line for Moses all day!
Joy is seeing Jesus at work through the members of his body.
Few of us are given leadership over hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people the way Moses was. That’s why I like the example of Mordecai, too.
Jethro helped Moses learn that while there were some things that only he could do, there were many tasks that he shouldn’t do.
Mordecai saw that there was an important task to be done that he couldn’t do. He was no beauty queen. He’d never have access to the throne. But he was wise enough to recognize that Esther was the one that God positioned in her time and place to be the Lord’s instrument of rescue for the people.
When we do everything by ourselves, we miss the beauty of Esther serving through her gifts.
Church worker burnout is self-inflicted by overfunctioning.
It’s ironic that we proclaim so clearly how grace never includes earning, and then far too often work ourselves into exhaustion as if our salvation depended on our efforts.
Grace never includes earning, but it always includes the joyful response of service. And not just for service by called kingdom workers.
There’s joy for all when every member of the body is turned loose for service.
We’re in a season of discovering new ways to pursue the Lord’s kingdom work, but some of the old rules apply.
As you move forward in this challenging season, what encouragement can you find from your mentors Jethro and Mordecai?
Thanks for reading.