This past Sunday I had the opportunity to preach, which is something I always really enjoy doing (you can read the Sermon Summary here). I love the process of studying the text, working through the exegesis and theology into a place where God’s Word transforms our lives. I put a lot of work into ministry… which is why my drive home from church on Sunday morning was so painful.
I didn’t get much sleep Saturday night. I’ll spare you the details why, but it’s not because I was being lazy or wasting time. I got to bed a little after midnight, and had to wake up at 5:30 in order to get to church on time to be able to take care of various tasks before our 8:00 worship service began. I’m not a morning person anyway, so the morning was rough. First service came and went and I felt good about the content of the sermon and my delivery… then second service came and went and I didn’t feel so good.
I could feel my body shutting down on me. I started to repeat myself more times than I wanted to. I could hear myself speaking way more monotone than I ever like to be. I got mispronounced a few words that I wouldn’t have otherwise messed up on. I was frustrated with myself – because I was tired, and I knew I did it to myself.
The content was good, but the messenger was dragging because he didn’t take care of himself the night before. Whether or not it’s a sermon or a youth group lesson or a Bible study or whatever your ministry is – don’t short-circuit yourself because you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Trust me, having something good and beneficial to say but failing because you didn’t get yourself to bed on time the night before is a killer.
What are some other ways we short-circuit ourselves in ministry?
(note: If you’re reading this and you’re from my church, please don’t take this as me looking for affirmation. I’m fine, really, just sharing some reflections with other in order that we might all learn from something I’ve learned the hard way.)