And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

In Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, he reminds his readers that they should never tire of doing good. His words are a good message for each of us in ministry. WAIT! Before you stop reading let me remind you that each of us is a minister. Over  the years we’ve somehow gotten the idea that ‘ministry’ means you are a pastor or some other leader of an organization that proselytizes and/or makes disciples for Jesus.

That simply is NOT true. Because of Jesus we are all believer-priests. In God’s eyes it doesn’t matter if we are a sandwich artist at a local sub shop, a tool and dye maker or the greeter at the local discount center. If you have a pulse and are directly or indirectly involved with other living beings you are a minister!

Since you are now convinced of your status as a minister, let me give you the other news. Ministry is tough business. People can expect more of you that you feel you are able to give. There never seems to be enough time to do all the things you want to do. You can feel unappreciated, unqualified, unenenergetic and unable to go on.

But Paul tells us we are never, ever to grow tired of ministry (doing good for others). So, how can you stay fresh for ministry to those in your family, community, workplace or church? Here are five ideas that may help transform you into a ministry giant..

F  – Focus on who you are and what you are doing. Do the things you do for God, not people. People take advantage of you. People drain you. People critique all you do in order to determine your worth. When you focus your activities as being for God, not people you can rise above the feelings of being taken advantage of or unappreciated. God’s approval is really all we should strive for.

R – Rest. Read through the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Notice the number of times he ‘went away’ to the mountains to pray. Jesus knew the value of taking time for himself. Too often, those of us in ministry feel that the success of our ministry rests on our own hard work. Fact of the matter is, God doesn’t need us. He can take care of the world just fine. We are the tools, not the operator. Take time to re-energize your spiritual, emotional and physical batteries.

E – Educate. Times change. Attitudes Change. Methods change, Technology changes. Even though Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, that doesn’t mean we are to keep doing things the way we have always done them. Branch out. Try new stuff. Challenge yourself. The mental exercise will do you good and you’ll be more effective in meeting the needs of other people.

S – STOP! It’s okay to say ‘NO’. The famous 80/20 rule says that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. Usually those people are the ones burning out, and getting extremely tired. It’s easy to get into the mindset of, “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.” For your spiritual and physical health, and the physical and spiritual health of those around you, it may be best to leave things undone. If God needs a job done He’ll raise up those to do it. Don’t let yourself get ‘guilted’ into burnout!

H – Help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength. Strong people are not the ones who do it themselves. Strong people are the ones who gather others around them to help with the ministry.

If you want to avoid being too tired to serve, try these five steps to insure your spiritual and physical health. Tired trees with weak limbs may bear fruit, but their branches break in the process.

PRAYER: Father God. I thank you today for the gifts you have given me. I praise you for the opportunities I have to use those gifts to lift others up and show them your love. I pray that you would give me the strength to take care of myself so I can take care of those you have given me. Empower me with your spirit to be FRESH for ministry. In Jesus name, Amen.