In the heartache of burnout or termination many can lose their bearings, and say and do things they would not otherwise. It is a time of great inner turmoil and growing disillusionment with what we never would previously challenge.
But it is not a time to forget some of the most basic principles of scriptures. One of those living guidelines is found in 1 Tim. 4:7-10.
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. (NIV)
In the very midst of the most confusing time of your ministry - burnout - be careful to hang onto godliness. Don’t let the pain be a freeway allowing your human nature to race to the forefront. Just as physical training can be a blessing to your heart, lungs and muscles, godliness is a key that brings value and blessing to all things. Your marriage, your relationships with your children, friends and others. Remaining godly has a huge impact on what unfolds in your future, which at a time of burnout or termination, is a great concern.
Godliness is doing the right thing when ugly things are happening. Control your tongue even when church members or denominational leaders are attacking you. Remain faithful and obedient to God even when future job prospects are looking gloomy. Even when those who are closest to you forsake you and toss you into an empty well, remain godly in thought and behavior. Your heart will ache with the pain of rejection and betrayal, but godliness has value in all things and all situations. While you sit in the dry, lonely well of total burnout, stay faithful and be willing to die if need be, to bring glory to our Father. Let godliness do its work in and through you. As in Joseph’s case, life can and may get darker than a dry well. Slavery and imprisonment awaited Joseph after he was pulled out of the well. Through all the low times which lasted for years, Joseph remained godly, simply because that is the correct response even if you are living in hell.
Joseph remained godly because he loved God despite what the world and life dished out. In the end, God exalted Joseph to the second most powerful position in the most powerful nation in the world at the time.
As Paul wrote to Timothy, this is a trustworthy saying (v9), not just a wing and a prayer. We can count on this life principle. Godliness will win out in the end because God is faithful to those who love Him and give their lives away to prove it.
Verse 10 tells us we need to work at remaining godly. The word striving is used here. Please keep in mind it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the strength and courage to remain godly in the most hellish of circumstances. Striving to be godly by our own will power and human strength is a sure formula to burnout. When you’re at the bottom of the dry well, keep your eyes focused on God, not the foreboding rock walls of the well. Now more than ever is the time to pray, “come Holy Spirit”. Let Him strengthen you and give you the courage to remain godly. Strive and labor to be close to God, and He will remain close to you, and exalt you in His time.
Do the godly thing, regardless of the member attacks, politics within denominational leadership, family and financial pressures, or whatever else life, people or the devil toss your way. Choose life. Choose godliness over any other action or reaction. Remain godly regardless of what others around you are doing or saying. Give your life away to godliness, and Father will always be there beside you waiting to exalt you to even greater service in the Kingdom! Keep growing in godliness. God Bless you all!