Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to Balance Your Ministry and Spiritual Life Successfully


"For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. " Jeremiah 17:8

A friend of mine stopped by the church last week to chat with me. He shared some of his frustrations about his spiritual life and told me where he wanted to be.

What I found while listening to him talk was he was trying to pour out, but he wasn't being filled enough to give anything of substance away. He was tired due to a hectic schedule, work, lack of rest, and trying to help in too many areas of the church.

"I appreciate the love and passion you have for your ministry, for the church and the people in it. But you can't be effective if you have nothing to give. And if you don't take some time for yourself--to soak--you're going to shrivel up and cough out dust to the ones you want to saturate with living water."

Sometimes we get so busy ministering to others, we forget we need to be filled ourselves. You can't run a ministry and  never sit in the service under the shepherd, skip small groups that will minister the Word, or neglect personal time in the Word for whatever excuses reasons.

And I'm not saying this person was neglecting his personal time with God. But he needed to sit a little longer. Soak until his skin puckered.

Soaking is fabulous. We need to soak in God's word personally, from pastors, teachers, and other ministries.

Now, by telling you to soak, I’m not giving you license to sit on a pew or in a chair and take and take and never give. There's a balance.

What goes in, needs to come out. That's the point of soaking.

Let's look at trees for a minute. Hang with me. Fascinating creations, aren't they? Most every tree branch raises its limbs to the heavens, except the Willow and I have to wonder if it's called Weeping because it's not praising the Lord. I don't know. Something to think about.

When trees are planted, water is taken in at the root and carried up with nutrients through the trunk and into the leaves.

90% of tree water is eventually dispersed from the leaf stomata through evaporation, into the atmosphere.

That beneficial loss of water from the tree is called transpiration.

Transpiration comes from the word "transpire" which means, "to come to light or be known." Latin trans + spirare = to breathe.

The tree keeps 10%, enough to stay alive and healthy, the rest it breathes out for others to breathe in.

We need the washing of the water of the Word in our lives. We need to daily soak our roots in it. We need to let it travel from where we're planted (by living water), through the trunk of our body--saturating our stomach's desires,  filling our lungs with praise, and protecting our hearts, until it reaches our limbs. Leaves like our fingers and tongue. Letting Light be known. Breathing out and giving life-giving air to the atmosphere around us.

Keeping enough to stay healthy and strong.

Giving most of it away.

We weren't meant to hoard God. We were meant to give Him away.
And we weren't meant to give until we have nothing left to keep going.

90/10 ratio. If trees can stay sustained at this rate. I think we can too.

"...it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade."  Mark 4:32

Where do you fall? Is it time to give some away? Are you giving and skipping on soaking up water in your roots? And do you have a favorite tree? Why do you love it?

24 comments:

  1. Such a powerful post this morning! It's so, so easy to get the balance wrong in one way or the other - either all giving, or all taking. God never intended it to be that way, and Jesus was an example of that. Thanks so much for sharing this morning!

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    1. You're welcome! Hitting that balance is definitely the key!

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  2. You've been soaking awhile, haven't you? I can see it in your post:)

    Love this, Jess. Right now I have an okay balance, but I need to work a bit on my quiet time with God. He's asking me to get up earlier, and I'm struggling with that one. I'm SO not a morning person--maybe I need some crickets:) But what you've got here is so true, can't put it out if we don't take it in.

    I love ALL trees this time of year...love the colors God gave us!

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    1. Thanks, Susan! I have been doing some soaking. But I know the dry spell too. Getting up early is tough! I'm praying He'll nudge you awake and saturate your living room or wherever you study in a tangible way, igniting a passion that will drive you awake each morning to discover the treasures of His Word! :) Autumn is my favorite too!

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  3. Great example and explanation! I love reading your posts as you put life in bites that we can take in. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Terri! I've missed seeing you around blogs. I know you've been in the process of moving again, but it sure it great to see you here today! Hugs!

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  4. Love this post! So relevant for so many. I love the trees worshipping! Thanks for pouring into me today.

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    1. Thanks, April! It's my pleasure. Truly! See you tonight! :)

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  5. A great and needed reminder, Jessica. I think that's one of my problems--I've moved to a new place and immediately dived into so many situations without the quality quiet time I need. I guess this means I'll be getting up at 6 AM every morning. Ugh. But I need to. Thanks! :-)

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    1. LOL! Beat your family up! Makes all the difference. ;) I hope you're getting all settled into your new place. I know you have many living in the same house. Hugs! Lifting you up in prayer!

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  6. This is wonderful. I think this also applies to creativity for me. I can't put out writing of any substance unless I've "soaked." I'm yearning for some skin puckering right now ;)

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    1. I agree! May be why I've been soaking in all these craft books lately. This new WIP ought to hit it out of the park! LOL ;)

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  7. This, my friend, is so awesome! I didn't know you were such a botanist. :) (Is that the right word?)

    Anyway, this is very good. You know, I'm pretty routine about getting up and having quiet time with God, but lately it has felt, well, routine-ish. Not a lot of soaking. I needed this challenge and encouragement!

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    1. Thanks, Tagg! Botanist. I can honestly say that's the first time I've even slightly been referred to as a Botanist! hee hee

      Praying for the bubbles of His word to surround you and relax you, the light of His word to flicker like soft candles in your heart and the warmth of his love to permeate your heart like the warm waters of a clawfoot tub! Here's to lack of routine-ish soaking! :)

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    1. Thanks, Katie! It was great to "see" you today! :)

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  9. I love, LOVE when God reveals His principles to us using His Creation! What a great understanding He's given you, Jess - and thank you for finding the right words and pictures to describe it to us so that we would have the understanding, as well. I need to do more soaking, but I'm doing much more than I did a couple years ago when the twins were infants - but God's grace covered me in that dry season.

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    1. Me too, Gabe! Thank you for blessing me with your words. They're encouragement to me for sure! Amen! Glad you're able to soak more often! :)

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  10. I admit it...I haven't been spending much time in His Word lately. I haven't been spending the time I should with Him. I find it hard to balance it all, and that's what goes out the window first. And I don't like it.

    Question for you. What do you do when you study His Word? Do you just read it and then meditate? I always find it hard because I'll just read a chapter or whatever and then try to "figure out" what He's trying to tell me. But I feel like it's so subjective, like what if I'm wrong? Any thoughts or ideas on that? Love you!

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  11. Jessica,

    You've done it again. You've poked at those tender spots in my heart. I LOVE soaking it up but sometimes I'm the last to realize that I need to be re-dipped....

    Thanks so much for the gentle and LOVELY reminder of our SOURCE.

    (BTW - I mentioned you singing on my blog today. I posted Gabrielle Meyer on my Wall of Writers and thought your post from last week was... appropriate.)

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    1. Thanks, Becky! I love that you spotlight a writer to pray for her/him! That's a fabulous idea.

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  12. Argh - didn't give you the link.

    http://beckydoughty.com/wow-gabrielle-meyer/

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  14. Jess, you constantly amaze me. I hit that "empty trying to pour out" mode last year. And it was u-g-l-y. I'm working on filling up now. It's hard. Sitting still is hard.

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