Internal Health is Vital


I was recently re-reading what I consider to be a classic book, Ordering Your Private World, by Gordon MacDonald. As vital as outreach is, our personal internal health is also essential. The author refers to a natural phenomenon we occasionally hear about: sinkholes. Periodically we hear in the news about a house that is swallowed up, or a section of a street that collapses and disappears.

MacDonald says, “Sinkholes occur, scientists say, when underground streams drain away during seasons of drought, causing the ground at the surface to lose its underlying support. Suddenly, everything simply caves in…”

The application seems apparent… we need to make sure that our own underground streams are full and flowing. I don’t recall if the book ever references this Scripture, but Psalm 11:3 comes to mind: If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

The book rightly encourages readers to give proper attention to their internal lives, their private worlds. In ministry, we can become outward-focused and performance-oriented to the neglect of the internal issues of our lives. Outreach and internal health were never meant to be an either/or proposition. We need both!

Interestingly, another web-site an online dictionary and thesaurus, reported that the most frequently looked up word on their web-site in 2005 was the word integrity. I guess you can take your pick on how to feel about that… sad that people may not know what integrity is, or glad that people are at least trying to find out. Integrity is just one of the many underground streams we need flowing internally to serve as a foundation and provide adequate support for our lives and ministries.