Yesterday in our monthly staff meeting, we talked about burnout. Yes, burnout. For pastors. The guys who only work one day a week and whose idea of “a tough day at the office” involves dropping a Leviticus commentary on our foot.
But believe it or don’t, pastors burn out. They take on too much. They have more plates spinning and more irons in the fire and more noses to the wheel and more analogies in a sentence than you can shake a stick at.
I’m as guilty of it as any. I don’t like to say “no” (unless the question is, “Would you like to drop a Jeremiah commentary on the other foot?”). I like to produce. I like to commit, to feel like I’m worth something because of what I do.
And sadly, that’s a recipe for disaster.
Our staff counselor Brad Hambrick wisely walked us through our commitments, helping us to realize that we all have the same number of hours, and we serve a fair God. He’s not going to require one more hour of time than what we currently have in a week. And there are times when we may have more capacity than others to take on certain tasks.
If you’re a stay at home mom with stay at home kids, your capacity to run the children’s ministry at your church may be diminished.
If you’re a retiree who spends the day deciding who would make a great replacement for Regis, your capacity to put down the remote and reach out to your neighbors is huge.
If you’re an 80 hour a week exec who also has a family, your capacity to be a capable mom or dad is always going to be challenged by the time depletion you face at work.
There are seasons in my life when I have a greater capacity to say “yes” than others. Conversely, there are seasons where I have to be very careful of what fills my calendar. There will always be opportunities to speak, to teach, to train, to officiate weddings, to pray at the 6 AM Men’s Pancake Breakfast and Water Polo Tournament, but saying “yes” to those things I can do always means a “no” to something I must do.
So what is your capacity? What are you giving time to that you shouldn’t? What needs the time that you have to give?