Just last week, me and my family watched the movie, “Home”. It’s is an animated film (which is now Alexa’s official favorite movie) about an alien race called the Boov who value one thing most- that’s efficiency.
This value heavily affects their culture, and as a result the Boov become a very anti-social race focusing mostly on getting tasks done and neglecting fun, partying and friendship. All Boov act like this except for one, Oh, who fights endlessly to build relationships with others irregardless of the mistakes, headaches and complications they bring.
I couldn’t help but notice how much truth there was to the movie, and how related it is to our current series. Authentic Christ-like relationships can get very messy and inefficient at times. Most of the causes of stress come from serving others, it’s mostly relationships that can burn you out. Peer pressure, misunderstandings, heartache. It can get very stressful and easy to experience burn out when we love and serve others. But we know for a fact that it is our duty to love and serve others.
God’s command to us in John 13:34 is a heavy one:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
What a standard! To love other people just as Jesus loves us. Many people who come to me with ministry concerns come because of this reason- they feel that they have just served and loved a little too much. And it’s just common for us to want to! I believe God has wired us to serve, but the weight and burdens it brings to us physically, emotionally and spiritually can take a toll.
So how can we fight burn out when serving?
The answer is in the same verse. In fact, it’s in the standard itself. Love one another: just as Jesus has loved us.
It’s not just a standard, but a reminder. Not just a duty, but also a delight. We get tired and burnt out when we start forgetting the simple truth, that Jesus has loved, served and even died for us. He bought us with a price, and now we can experience freedom, not to do things only for ourselves but for others as well. To practice service, generosity and love towards others.
Service must be both a duty and a delight. To miss one of both sets us to become prone to burn out easily. To serve out of duty alone leads us to forget the main reason, which is that we serve because of Jesus. Likewise, to serve out of delight alone leads us to work without a foundation, and cause us to just drop everything when serving gets inevitably hard.
To serve without burning out is a great balancing act of remembering that the command is both a standard and a promise. We provide for our families as a result of Jesus’ standard and promise. We work in our careers as a result of Jesus’ standard and promise. We make disciples because of Jesus’ standard and promise.
How is Jesus’ standard and promise in John 13:34 drive you to serve your family? Your workmates? Your disciples?