He looked as if he could have been a cover model for GQ magazine.
Even a quick glance might cause one to believe this person was successful, confident, and resourceful. However, his speech betrayed his appearance.
“I’m just tired,” he said.
The words he spoke were barely audible, and the tone of his voice suggested a greater heaviness than a tired person. I had heard it before. Many times.
As I listened to his story, it quickly became evident that weariness was a more substantial weight on this man’s heart than tiredness. I know the difference.
Many times, after a full day’s work, I have been physically tired. The attraction of my bed begged my attention; inviting me to partake of its luxurious comfort. “A good night’s rest is all I need,” I would tell myself.
And usually, all it takes is for me to get six to eight hours of good sleep, and I'm refreshed. I’ve learned that rest is a necessary gift for our body and mind. Isn’t it amazing to see how a good night’s sleep can re-energize us?
However, an exhausted soul requires more!
Working with leaders for years, I've learned to recognize: Outward appearances are not always reliable.
His attempt to dress nice, and project confidence with a glowing testimony of how well things were going, fell short in his attempt to disguise his weariness.
Even at a young age, many viewed this man as successful in ministry. As the lead pastor of a growing parish, the signs of success camouflaged the hollow condition of his heart.
“It happened so quickly,” he told me. “One day I had all this energy, then suddenly there was nothing left in my tank.” My friend's sudden awareness that his tank was empty was a sure sign he had been neglecting to pay attention to his spiritual gauge.
The reality is: Weariness does not happen suddenly!
The demands upon ministers — and parishioners — today can deplete our spiritual resources more rapidly than a car's fuel tank when driving into a headwind!
Societal pressures continue to challenge our faith. How are we to maintain fidelity to God's word, while demonstrating love for others? In our attempt to connect with our world, how do we guard ourselves against being contaminated by our society?
We wrestle with these questions daily. Some have grappled with these kinds of problems for so long they are weary to the bone.
There are days when I may want to remove myself from the ring, allowing others to wrestle with these kinds of questions. I become mentally drained — and spiritually depleted. And when I grow weary of the battle, it’s easy for me to want to bail out.
However, as Christians who desire to follow Jesus, endurance is not an elective course; it’s a necessity. Jesus places more value on persistence than popularity. He reminds us:
“… and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
If like my minister friend and myself, you recognize that your weariness requires more than a good night’s sleep, Jesus’ invitation is for each of us:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
It’s a good thing to harness ourselves to Jesus – before our tank becomes empty!