This work that I believe has been thrust upon us to do in this world today is arduous and sometimes debilitating to the soul. Often times I have looked upon the tasks before me and have thought that I was too ill-equipped, surely there are better, smarter, more talented people to do this work. Make no mistake, dear soldier, our rewards for laboring in this mission will not be found in the personalized accolades of this world. We will also not become famously wealthy in our service to suffering humanity. Rather, we work because of this higher calling within our hearts and lives. If we have been called into this deeper fellowship with the Father, then our highest aim is to live in holiness while at the same time ushering others into the same, life-saving lifestyle.
This is not about Leadership abuse or being beaten down by society for our testimony, although these things do happen. The brokenness I am talking about today takes place within our spirit. We have been given this free will to choose. We can choose to rebel against God in all things. We can choose to turn our backs on His leading in our lives. We can decide to ignore His pleadings to help those around us; but with these choices comes the consequence of separating from God’s will for us. This will is a deep desire for us to become like His son, Jesus Christ in every way possible. If we choose to walk such a difficult path (Holiness) we make a conscious decision to become selfless in both word and deed. This brokenness, dear soldier, can truly transform our ministries in not only our corps but in our work places and homes. It transforms our every thought and intention and directs it towards a motivation and power far beyond our own. The Holy Spirit whispers into our lives this transformational choice, without His guidance our brokenness will be incomplete and pitiful. With His power, we posses through Him the power to be transformed and to help in the transformation of others. Dear soldier, are you broken? What is the measure of your surrender? Does it end with the benediction on Sunday until the following Sunday, or does your surrender run through and through?
The second component deals with physical and emotional exertion. In my country (United States), this time of year is extremely busy. We rush to and fro, forwards and backwards, only to repeat it over and over again for the next twenty one days. It can be an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes I believe we truly lose the emphasis of Christmas in our extreme business. I understand we need the funds to support our programs, but there are times when I question if what we do, which takes a toll on our bodies, is the appropriate method to this madness. I know of countless officers and soldiers alike who grow overly tired during this six+ week stretch and there is a groaning of their bones for finality.
In our efforts of doing good for Christ and living out our brokenness, “let us not become weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9). I read this verse and think to myself how can we possibly NOT become weary in this season? Many of us literally dread the Christmas season, and I can’t help but think that the Lord does not want us to grow weary like this.
Is there still holiness in Nativity for you?
Do we suffer from burnout in our efforts to do good?
What are we doing to care for the needs of our bodies and souls?
Have we lost that “lovin’ feeling”?
Have we lost a step in our relationship with Christ because of our responsibilities?
There isn’t one “miracle” pill to take, but allow me a moment to offer you a few remedies for weariness.
I don’t care if you have to go to bed earlier or sprawl out on a pew, get some rest! Take your rest seriously!
#2 Pick up a new book to nourish your soul!
Read something that will connect with your spirit on a deeper basis. Don’t just settle for an easy read, but try and sift through the riff-raff for some good, healthy, challenging reads. Don’t stress about how long it will take you to read it either, just read.
#3 Keep Your Sabbath Holy!
For Officers this becomes quite difficult when you lead the red kettle campaign Monday through Saturday and then preach & teach on Sundays…but keep your Sabbath holy. Maybe this happens by attending another church’s service (Oh yes, I just said that!). Even the Shepherd needs to be fed, so go get fed!!! (I need to take this advice to heart as well!)
#4 Your Relationship With Christ
How is it? I don’t mean how do other people view you, but how is your personal relationship with Him right now? What are you doing to feed your spiritual life? Are you in a spiritual desert right now? Are you communing with the Father? Have you carved out vital time in your prayer closet, wherever that may be?
#5 Find, Recapture Some Joy This Christmas!
Christmas isn’t all about Kettles and Toys. It should never JUST be about that. If it does become this, then we will have lost our way in trying to do good for others we will have lost ourselves in the process. We must rekindle that spark, that flame, that passion for holiness. Let’s rediscover the mystery and awe of the Christ-child. Laugh a little. Enjoy life a little…take a breath and yes even relax a little.
This Army needs you alive both physically and spiritually. So don’t kill yourselves in your weariness!
Just another pondering for our Army today!
To God be the glory!