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Shutting Everything Down

Tim Miller founded the organization “Texas EquuSearch” after experiencing a tragedy himself, one that involved his own daughter Laura, who went missing 34 years ago. Laura’s body was eventually located.  Over the past 20 years, Miller has been tirelessly involved, along with numerous volunteers, serving throughout the U.S. and foreign countries searching for missing people in hopes to reunite them with their loved ones. After receiving the Director’s Community Liaison award from the FBI, Miller shared his recent thoughts of “shutting everything down.”

Miller stated that “the world’s changed in just the last 20 years. Younger people don’t want to come out and volunteer anymore, I’m 20 years older and most of our people are older. I am just tired. This award though says we’ve got to keep going.” (Source: i45NOW Report)

Mr. Miller was experiencing “burnout.”  “Burnout” is “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Years ago, when I decided to work as an EMT and later as a police officer, I was told in both cases that within 5 years, burnout would set in. I thought it was a bunch of crazy psychological jargon, but in both professions, I experienced it and yes, even as a preacher I have experienced it.  Interestingly, I chose those careers to help people, to demonstrate my compassion in serving others in their time of need; but, after several years, I became tired, mentally and physically exhausted. It didn’t help that these jobs are rather thankless, where you seldom received any gratitude from those you helped. I remember thinking just like Mr. Miller said, “I just can’t do it anymore.” For one to do good comes with a price, and as one has described it, the “cost of caring.”

The Bible speaks on this issue: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).

We all know that as Christians, it is our duty to DO GOOD. The scriptures tell us it’s not enough to just BELIEVE. As Christians, we must be “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14). We have instructions on living the Christian life in Romans 12:9-13. Jesus provided us the perfect example of one who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Paul emphasizes the importance of DOING GOOD in Galatians 6:9. Jesus served with humility, sacrificing Himself daily, being spent for others sake. Paul said the same of his own service (2 Cor. 12:15).

There is a magnitude of good we have been called to do: cultivating the “fruit of the spirit” (Galatians 5), reaching out to those who have fallen away (Galatians 6:1), bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), evangelizing, and as Galatians 6:10 says: “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

We start off eagerly doing good, but eventually, we run into the DANGER ZONE that Paul warns about. BURNOUT! Or as Paul calls it, “losing heart, growing weary in well-doing.”

Mr. Miller began with zeal in his venture to help others. His mission was clear and in 20 years he accomplished a lot. But over time, little by little, the enthusiasm began to fade, and he became worn and weary. Discouragement set in and he considered “shutting everything down.” The world around him was changing and those who had worked diligently the past 20 years were not being replaced by younger people getting involved. He had “lost heart.”

It’s been said that the idea of “losing heart” goes back to terminology that was used in the ancient world referencing unstringing a bow. The hunter would venture into the woods, prepared to locate their prey. However, time passes, nothing comes, so the hunter would UNSTRING HIS BOW and return home. Once weariness sets in, we lose our enthusiasm for opportunities to do good. We’ve diligently sacrificed our time and resources but feel like we’re not getting anywhere. We reach out to the lost and erring but see no results. We unstring the spiritual bow, no longer searching out opportunities, just tired and discouraged.

This is a serious danger for us. The devil deceives us into believing that the good we are doing is not worth it! He tells us, “Just let go.”

Elijah bought into that lie. He lost heart, unstringing his spiritual bow, tired and discouraged, begging for God to take his life! God reminded Elijah in the soft whisper that he needed to press on. There was more work to do, more opportunities for good! Elijah was reminded of the need to persevere. There are numerous passages of scripture that encourage us to press on. Read Hebrews 3:6,14;10:23-25.

Mr. Miller received an award for his diligent efforts over the years and the award reminded him of the reason he had started and said, “We’ve got to keep going.”

Spiritually speaking, we have a reward to reap ourselves and the reminder comes to us from Galatians 6: not losing heart in doing good results in the reaping of a reward.  We may not see instantaneous results, but “we’ve got to keep going!”  There’s going to be sowing, planting, watering… and there’s going to be some waiting. We keep doing that day in and day out (cf. 1 Cor. 3:5-8; 2 Tim. 4:7,8).

I pray for the Lord of harvest to send laborers into His harvest (cf. Luke 10:2), but I must also go and labor in His harvest, never forgetting that I at one time was lost in sin. May I be diligent in continuing to seek and save the lost for Christ (Luke 19:10), to serve, to labor and enter into that reward the Lord provides to all those who love Him and His cause (cf. Hebrews 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:7,8).

Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂

About Author

DJ Dickerson

Evangelist | La Porte Church of Christ

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