The Burned-Out Man of God
Burn-out, what is it?
Spiritual Burnout usually occurs when a Believer begins to concentrate too much on the activities of the church rather than on the desires of God who is worshipped. A member or church leader might boast on the number of auxiliaries in which they are involved, in the mean time, failing to recognize that they are being slowly molded by the world into conformation to bearing "church fruits" rather than doing the works of God.
As the cycle of bearing "church-fruits" continue, so does the dwindling of spiritual resource. The main impetus of "Church-fruit's" is not meant to transform lives but to conform them so that the church may not live up to the world demands, which started off as, promising, then became stressful to the point where it demanded more energy than they were physically able to give.
And under these stressful situations, they could not understand how is it that a merciful God could not acknowledge their wanting to produce "church fruits".
They are unable to see that it is not the fault of the Almighty why their "church-fruits" are not being acknowledged. They fail to see that they have denied God those times of intimacy to which He had become accustomed.
According to the Texas Medical Association, two major causes of burnout are bureaucratic atmosphere and overwork.
It identifies three stages:
I. Stress arousal (irritability, anxiety, high blood pressure)
II. Energy conservation (excessive tardiness, procrastination, social withdrawal, increased cynicism)
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines Burn-out as the “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”
B. Spiritual Burn- out exhibits;
a. a lack of interest and zeal in the Work
b. withdrawal from fellowship and Church activities
c. critical and negative comments on church, people, proposed solutions to relative problems
d. See auxiliaries as an obstacle
e. See church as taking place too often/time spent
C. Signs of Burn-out in Elijah’s ministry
1. He was discouraged 1Kings19:4
2. He saw Jezebel as an obstacle
3. He was disappointed that their was no help; just him 1Kgs.19:10
4. He secluded himself/ left his servant at Beer-sheba 1Kgs.19:3, 4
5. He lost enthusiasm
6. He wanted to die
D. What was the Prescription to have him re-focused?
1. An angel touched him/ the angel laid his hand on Elijah
2. The provisions by an angel / cake and cruse of water, - 1Ki 19:5-7
3. Strengthened for 40 days and nights Arise and eat for the journey is too great for thee verse 1Kings19:7
On the strength of that meat/ 40days/nights to mountHoreb, the mount of God. Here God spoke to Elijah and asked, what doest thou here, Elijah? – 1Kings19:9
Again, the sovereign God Allows Elijah’s to Voice his Complaint, he says, I have been jealous for the Lord of Host (tsaba)... I, even I alone am left. God saw that Elijah was not ready to talk sensibly. He was still of a harsh nature thinking that he cared for God’s people more than God himself.
God said to Elijah, "Go forth, and stand on the mount before the Lord". God wanted his excessive zeal to be moderated, get rid of some of that harshness and develop a quiet and tender spirit.
Elijah heard the still small voice he wrapped his face in his mantle.Elijah response to God the second time remained the same; he was still concerned about practical duty instead of worshipful intimacy.
Some of us are into “works” to satisfy God and we could care less whose feelings gets hurt, who falls over, or who leaves the church for its all about the practical end of the injunction that we believe that we have been given by God.
But God is more concerned about relationship.
Paul wrote, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love ” (Eph. 4:16).