“Do you love me? Feed my sheep.” (Jesus speaking to Peter, John 21:15-17)
If we love Jesus, Jesus asks us to live into that love through concrete action in the world. Everyone has something to offer. Remember, though, that Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. We are meant to offer what gives us life. Our deepest joy must be the source of our world-changing work, or we will burn out.
Our church is blessed with so many wonderful volunteers doing so much wonderful work. Some of it sustains the church itself, and some of it feeds (literally) the world around us. Most of these volunteers would never complain, so we all need to be mindful of the potential for burnout, and alert for its signs. Nothing we do is so important that anyone should sacrifice their physical, mental, or spiritual health for it.
Are you arguing with me in your head? But what about…? Whether it’s something you think you should be doing, or something you think someone else should be doing, before you do it, or before you ask someone to do it, ask the question “is it essential?” Does it make us more in love with God? Is it feeding God’s sheep (including us)? If it does not do those things, maybe it can wait. Maybe we can let it go altogether. If it does those things, but is no longer a source of joy for those doing it, who else might we invite in to share the load?
This is an invitation. If you are burned out, or feel like you might be soon, contact me. I’d love to meet and think things through with you. If you sense someone else is burned out, ask them directly. Just noticing is a huge gift. If you can’t help, contact me and together we can figure it out. If you are nowhere near burned out, or if you’d like to explore how you might use your gifts here at St. Mary’s, contact me and we can wonder together. I repeat: Nothing we do is so important that anyone should sacrifice their physical, mental, or spiritual health for it.
Our deep joy empowers us to meet the world’s deep needs. I’m so grateful to be on this journey with you.