As we continue our four-week theme of “Ministry Lessons Learned from the Laundry Room,” today is a topic that every pastor’s wife has dealt with, Unbalanced! I pray what Patti shares today will be a blessing to you.
An overloaded washing machine is a problem, but an unbalanced load is problematic.
So it is in ministry.
Overloaded ministry life is a problem in itself but an unbalanced ministry life can have ongoing problems. What’s the difference?
An Overload can be remedied by the removal of things that are extra or adding to the bulk of a load.
An unbalanced load does not reveal itself until there is a conflict in weight distribution.
In the case of a washing machine, the unbalanced load will cause the machine to get loud, shake, bang and even walk across the floor in violent agitation. The only thing to stop this maneuver is to open the lid and examine the contents for the culprit that is throwing the balance of the load off. Sometimes it is easy to identify and sometimes you have to redistribute each item and try the machine again…and again until balance has been achieved. Sometimes the culprit has to be removed and put aside for another load.
In ministry life, if we don’t examine what we are putting into our ministry life we often will find ourselves in a state of shaking and agitation until we restore balance.
What can contribute to an unbalanced load in ministry?
Working outside of our gifts and abilities, trying to do things that would be better suited for another person’s gifting, not considering the other responsibilities that make up all the parts of our lives, not considering the ministry responsibilities of our spouse and double and triple booking ourselves. The biggest culprit can be not leaving a margin of space and time for the unexpected.
We put many these things into our ministry life without examining if they fit together and balance each other out. We find we are going along just fine and then we begin to shake and shout and agitate and all of a sudden the joy of ministry is gone and we don’t know why.
How do we avoid as best we can an unbalanced load in ministry?
Examine opportunities in light of what is already in your load.
Take time to inquire of the Lord if he has gifted us to do this particular ministry or event.
Leave some time for God to raise up someone else before we raise our hand.
Take time to read through Romans 12:1-8
Romans 12:1-8 (NIV)
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
In reading this passage that Paul instructs of using our gifts to serve the Body, it occurs to me that each gift is accompanied with an instruction on how to use it. Not so much the mechanics, but the attitude.
In particular, I am drawn to verse 8. We stick to the gift by carrying it out by faith, generosity, diligence and cheerfulness. That does not include shouting, shaking and agitating!
So let us go forward and examine our ministry load and determine through God’s balancing perspective what belongs and what is better left out for another person or for another time.
Is your ministry life “unbalanced?” If so, I pray you will do some self-examination and allow God to show you what you need to rid yourself of to get back in balance.