Ministry burnout and dependence on the strength of God


Christian ministry can feel like a treadmill at the gym, set too fast, too many things on the go at a time, and they can’t be stopped, shut down, the treadmill sometimes has no off-button.  When life gets like this, the pastor is well on the way to ministry burnout.

E.M. Bounds uses the following illustration by A.C. Dixon on the place of prayer and faith.  If I put myself in the place of weakness and God in the place of strength, I will not fear the chase, nor failure, I can get off the treadmill and learn to prioritise, plan and persevere in prayer.

A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’ So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.” — A. C. DIXON.

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