You Got Served [Avoiding Ministry Burnout Part 3]

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Having a basketball hit you in the face at 126 mph is a humbling experience.

Sure…I might be exaggerating the speed a little bit. The truth is, I got hit so hard by that ball you could see the “W” from the Wilson logo almost perfectly imprinted on my forehead. Not even kidding!

It happened when I went to make a 3-pointer. My feet were perfectly planted, my eyes were on the target, and I had a wide open shot. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the defender in my blindspot. Just as quickly as the ball left my hands, its direction was quickly reversed as it got punched at me with the force of a semi truck. When I say punched, I literally mean punched. There was no swat or “slap” involved.

As I laid on the ground with no feeling on my face, my friend ran up to me and screamed “YOU GOT SERVED!” If you’ve never heard this expression, it’s what young people said 15 years ago to insult someone. They even made a terrible dance movie about it in 2004. Needless to say, It took me a few weeks to play with them again. Sure my face hurt for a while, but my ego was absolutely crushed.

When it comes to church, serving is a BIG thing. I have been asked to serve in almost every ministry of every church I’ve been a part of.

Can you work in the daycare ministry?

Can you help park cars next week?

Can you lead a lesson for the pre-teens?

Can you volunteer to sing to the residents of the nursing home?

You name the ministry, I’ve either served there or been asked to serve there.

You think you know where I’m going with this, and you’re right. It’s no secret that if you serve in too many ministries, you will get burned out. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. But how do you know you’re serving too much?

Seeking before Serving

If you’re serving more than you’re seeking, your priorities aren’t right.

In the context of seeking God, there’s a big difference between truly seeking God on a personal level and just filling the checkboxes.

Went to a bible study – [Check]

Attended the worship night – [Check]

Went to a revival – [Check]

These are great things. But they’re not enough. Striving to fill that “spiritual checkbox” over personally seeking God will leave us broken and spiritually burned out. Spiritual check boxes only serve our own egos, not the Kingdom.

I had a friend who went to a bible study every other night in an attempt to further his faith. We would spend hours in the word with other Christians studying, debating, and memorizing the scriptures. Instead of furthering his faith, he found himself farther from God and feeling like he didn’t have any free time. Once he paused and took a spiritual inventory of his personal relationship with God, he realized he was seeking God the wrong way.

22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  Matthew 7:22-23

We can do many things in his name, but our relationship with Jesus is a two-way street. He has to know us. Serving does no good if we are failing to seek after and have a relationship with the one we serve.

Seeking God doesn’t mean we’ll avoid all those “basketballs of life” that are being punched our way. It will let us finish the game though.