A lot has been said in recent years about ministers knowing their limitations. Books have been written, seminars have been held, and retreat centers have sprung up around the idea of burned-out ministers.
We hear statistics about the thousands who burn out and leave the ministry each month. If we continue to focus on the limitations of our human nature, we will continue to construct safety nets with ever-widening margins and comfort levels with ever-shortening availability that become smothering traps for a new generation of ministers.
As a denomination that recognizes Holy Spirit life, we should acknowledge how finite we are for such a supernatural enterprise (ministry), and we should focus our leaders on Spirit-filled living. Rather than retreating behind human boundaries, we should be preparing leaders for Spirit release. No one has ever said: “I followed the Holy Spirit, and He burned me out. He caused me to lose my family.”
In our own ranks, we have a perfect example of Spirit-filled living. Jack Hayford is a worldwide influencer. His vitality is legendary. Do we cast Pastor Jack off as a unique personality?
Ask him, and he will tell you that there are few who enter into the fraternity of “knowing” that the work they do has been aside from, and beside, them; a work whose bounty and glory they have been privileged to share, and to follow in company. That’s not because the work is a closed order; it’s because there are few who will pay the price of admission to sit at the feet of God, waiting, listening and following the voice of the Spirit. Pastor Jack has been a perfect example of continued development and ministry from the limitless supply of God’s wisdom.
Knowing how finite we are is the stepping stone into limitlessness. It is giving up all our purely human wear-and-tear ambitions and living on en-theos, or enthusiasm, for what God wants done.
Jesus knew it, and it sustained Him. Others may have said, “He is out of His mind” (Mark 3:21, NKJV), but maybe He was just standing apart with God, downloading people’s needs and gathering material for His imminent sermon. Paul knew it, and it sustained him. Paul would be embarrassed by the genteel limits of 21st-century leaders. Thousands of early church disciples knew it, and we call them “heroes of the faith.” But they were mere men living beyond human limitations by their Spirit-led lives.
We are living in an era of spiritual warfare. War always takes a toll on mind and body. Without our spiritual component in the dominant position, too many times the “sufferer” will look for distractions as “anesthesia.” That leads to a generation of ministers distracted to the point that ministry itself becomes a distraction to their eagerness. In the time we are entering, a minister without a singular heart and focus on a genuine Spirit-led life will become a statistic, a burned-out person who leaves the ministry.
And men and women planted by it, fed by it, will produce fruit to feed a world of burned out, bombed out, bound up people! Let’s know our limitations and step up into a Spirit-led life. It’s a life of hands-to-the-plow men, of while-there-is-still-daylight ministers, of life-in-the-style-of-Jesus followers. And it’s doable with great joy in the Holy Spirit.
- Holy Spirit, take me to drink from the well that never runs dry.
- Holy Spirit, help me to stretch out to grasp what only You can do through me.
- Holy Spirit, help me to remember I am not my own, that nothing I have is my own, and that you expect me to spend and be spent in service to my King.
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