A few years back I read a great little book called ‘Zeal Without Burnout‘ by Christopher Ash. It encouraged me to serve and sacrifice for Christ, since Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow him (Luke 9:23-24). But it also encouraged me to recognise that I’m not God, and to reflect on the limitations and needs of my humanity. Key topics were sleep, rest, friends, inward renewal, and more – but essential to getting it right is to realise that God is in control and that the success or otherwise of God’s kingdom and his Church rests not on me, but on him.
As a Church, we have important work to do together – offering new life in Christ to those who don’t know him yet, growing up together in our faith and godly living in him, and showing love to each other and the community around us. There is a lot to do, but the most important thing is not to do – but to be. In order to be Christ’s disciples we need to depend and rely on him and not on our own efforts. We need to cry out to him in prayer, we need to rest and find renewal and encouragement from him.
Christopher Ash concludes his book by encouraging us to make the following resolution. Why don’t you read through it now, and then if you like, say it out loud as a resolution for your life. What areas might you need to work on particularly?
“I am – and will never, this side of the resurrection, be more than – a creature of dust. I will rest content in my creaturely weakness; I will use the means God has given me to keep going in this life while I can; I will allow myself time to sleep; I will trust him enough to take a day off each week; I will invest in friendships and not be a proud loner; I will take with gladness the inward refreshment he offers me. I will serve the Lord Jesus with a glad and restful zeal, with all the energy that he works within me; but not with anxious toil, selfish ambition, the desire for the praise of people, and all the other ugly motivations that will destroy my soul. So help me God.”
Yours in Christ,