Staying Spiritually Fit

We know that ministry has its challenges, and we trust that you are abounding in grace as you work for Him. I remember hearing one minister say that the requirements for ministry are: the heart of a child, the mind of a scholar, and the hide of a rhinoceros. Speaking of the toughness that ministry requires, Martin Luther once said, “A preacher must be both soldier and shepherd. He must nourish, defend, and teach; he must have teeth in his mouth and be able to bite and fight.”

One of our great needs in staying fit for battle pertains to keeping our own inner resources replenished and our own reservoirs full. In an excellent book, Pastors at Greater Risk, by H.B. London and Neil Wiseman, the story is told of a minister experiencing burnout. He was advised by a minister-friend, “If you don’t do what you’re professing and teaching others to do, you’re a spiritual con artist.” I think that as we continually give out when our inner reservoir is dry and empty, we become spiritual con artists as we call people to spiritual exercises that no longer matter much to us. It’s strong language, but that’s exactly what I was becoming as I talked to others about a full life in God while I was empty, dangerously empty (page 194).

Whenever you fly, you will hear the frequently stated words, “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Be sure to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others.” That’s great advice, too, for those of us who are regularly helping others. Be sure you’re taking care of yourself!