Jump Start # 2925
2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”
Do you ever get the lazies? It’s not that you don’t have things to do. It’s just the opposite. Your list is long. But this day, you just don’t feel motivated. You don’t want to do what needs to be done. And there starring us in our face is the opening words of our passage, “Be diligent.” And “diligence” means to get about it. Get up and get going. Do it. Oh, you know you should, but you sure don’t feel like it at the moment.
Getting the lazies is not something that a lazy person understands. He’s always lazy. Procrastination is his favorite hobby. The lazy guy spends more time talking than doing and more time watching TV that helping others. The book of Proverbs addresses the sluggard or lazy person. Go to the ant, we are told. That little ant has more ambition than the lazy person.
No, most times it’s the busy person that occasionally catches the lazies. He’s been busting it over and over, but now he just doesn’t feel like it. Preachers can get this way. It would be good for shepherds to understand this. As soon as Sunday night rolls around, it’s time to be thinking of yet another sermon. Another podcast. Another article. Another class. For me, another Jump Start. There is little taking the foot off the accelerator. There is too much to be done.
Here are a few things that might help:
First, getting the lazies is common. Don’t make yourself feel worse by piling on guilt. No one is Superman. Even the Lord got away for reflection and rest. You are not a failure nor a bad person because there are days that you don’t feel like doing what needs to be done.
Second, pace yourself and get organized. Not everything needs to be done today or even this week. Make lists of what must be done today. There will be interruptions, that’s life. On that list of things to be done, start with things that are easy and quick to accomplish. That gives you some momentum. You are getting things done. Things are being crossed off your list.
Third, take a breather. Take a day off. Take your vacation. Many preachers don’t practice that. We are running all the time. As a result we are tired. Few know it, but we do. The quality of our work isn’t top notch. We know. We justify it because there are so many things to do. But what happens is that we get stale and after a while it shows in our preaching, teaching and work. So, take a mental vacation. Rest your mind. Try to unplug your thinking about sermons, classes and articles. That’s hard for most of us to do.
This is where sharp shepherds will add value and years to their preachers tenure. Schedule a time for others to preach. Your preacher will fight you on this. He would as soon preach if he is home. But tell him it’s for his good. Send him on a sabbatical to read, recharge and come back fresh. It’s only good for the whole church.
Fourth, learn to delegate. That’s hard. Sometimes it’s just easier and faster to do it yourself than it is to train someone. But there are many things others can do so you can focus upon what only you do. Mailing meeting fliers is something others can do. Get more of the deacons involved in the total work and that will help so much.
Now, these same simple points apply to all of us. There are days when moms do not feel like being a mom. You can’t resign. But what you can do is catch your breath, delegate, get organized, pace yourself, make lists. There are days you may not feel like going to work. There may be days you don’t feel like going to worship. We push ourselves to work because there are bills and a mortgage that must be paid. But worship, for many is easy to skip. Don’t start that. It will get you into trouble.
When you don’t feel like worshipping, try sitting some where different in the auditorium. Try singing without looking at the words. Try to talk to some you rarely talk to. Shuffle things up a bit. Make things fresh in your heart.
Be diligent…there are times when that is the hardest part of our verse to do. There are days when our tank is running low on diligence. It’s hard to be motivated when one doesn’t feel like doing anything. It might be good to take a Saturday and schedule NOTHING. Yes, there are so many things to do around the house and out in the yard. Yes, there are places to go. But for this one Saturday, you’ve decided to stay put. Pick up a book and read. Listen to some music. Rest. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Refuel that diligence tank.
All of this is better than getting burned out and quitting.