March 2, 2018
Are You Exhausted Or Just Empty?
WOW! I don’t know about you, but I am tired. Like I said yesterday, it started at Thanksgiving and ramped up with Christmas, New Years, and then my birthday on January 5th. Our ministry is always very busy this time of year. The holidays magnify the stress and family pressures that are a source of struggle for so many. We deal with travel, houseguests, activities, kids off from school and home from college, and trying to spend time with family and friends. Add on financial pressures, celebrations, late nights, and the worst culprit, Unrealistic Expectations. There were also many exciting projects at Lighthouse Network that needed special attention. I gained 10 pounds and lost 10 … twice! What an exhausting 3 months. Oh yeah, did I mention I have a wife, too?
Maybe you are physically exhausted from “doing” … going to work, cleaning the house, chauffeuring the kids, attending services, participating in small groups, volunteering on committees … doing stuff in the name of service. But a deeper and more dangerous form of exhaustion is the spiritual type. This type of exhaustion often comes from giving, especially giving time and effort.
Jesus said to Peter – “Feed My sheep,” but He only gave Peter His example and words, no actual food to feed them. Like Peter, we are all called to go feed His sheep. The process of being made “broken bread” and “poured out wine” means that you will be the nourishment for others’ souls showing them why and how to feed on God. Before they learn to draw on the life of the Lord Jesus directly, they have to draw on it through you. You are the bridge over which the truth and healing message of Christ will travel. This is how God uses us to minister to others. We are called to serve, and serving takes energy and effort. Understand though, this process has the potential to deplete and exhaust you.
Here’s the important principle: we should feel emptied, not exhausted. But we need not remain emptied, because we can always return to the Source of all power to refuel. God’s Word promises to give you strength and power. And the Holy Spirit is the energy source that refuels us so we can continue to serve others. We get exhausted when we try to do all these activities on our own or for our gain. When we leave God out, (forgetting to pray, focus on His will, or go to Him first), exhaustion becomes our companion.
Today, ask yourself this question, “Am I just on empty or am I exhausted?” Be emptied because you are giving. But do not be exhausted because you are forgetting to refuel through the Holy Spirit, His Word, and His Armor. Remember, your supply comes from Him and His fuel pump is endless. On the other hand, your own supply is shallow and runs dry quickly. We have all “been there, done that.” Whether you turn to Him for replenishment, or you try to fill yourself is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I am exhausted, because I am refueling from the wrong energy sources. I am spinning my wheels, turning in circles, making no headway. I want to experience a different form of exhaustion. I want to be emptied because I am privileged to be Your ambassador, ministering to others and furthering Your kingdom. Use me, Father, to save souls and to spiritually nourish the starving until they learn to feed directly from You. I pray this in the name of the One you sent to be our broken bread and poured out wine, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:28-29
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17