We live in a “me-centered” society. “Take care of self” and “Look out for #1″ are phrases we’ve all heard tossed around, right? Sounds good in theory, but there’s one problem: it flies in the face of God’s way of living. To model our lives after the example of Jesus, we should serve, give, and love others generously.
But, many of us feel as though we’ll be taken advantage of if we give and love generously. We think we’ll have nothing left for ourselves or that we’ll be so physically or emotionally depleted, we won’t enjoy life. Oh sure, we give. We serve. But, we do so with a caveat: self-protection. We don’t want to become anyone’s doormat, so we subtly protect ourselves from serving or giving too much. Want proof? Pick up any self-help book and you’ll find numerous admonishments to “learn to say no” to the needs of others and meet our own needs first.
It’s not a mindset unique to the world of unbelievers. I talk to many ministry wives who experience the same fear of burnout - the fear that if we say yes to one more event in our homes, to one more task at church, to one more administrative detail we will spontaneously combust. Not true, my friends. Check out the promise God makes in Proverbs:
Proverbs 11:25 “The generous will prosper. Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
I found this verse while my husband and I were planting a church. We were using every ounce of our energy – physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual. We were eating, drinking, and breathing ministry. Saying “no” was not an option as there was simply too much to do, so learning to say yes was a must. In that season I experienced God’s promise in Proverbs. God didn’t add hours to my day or provide me with time at the spa, but He surely refreshed me. As I served Him, I was more fulfilled than ever before. Each time I said yes, He cemented His purpose in my heart and filled me with satisfaction. Knowing that He was changing lives through my husband and me was honoring and exhilarating, and He gave me a supernatural refreshment. That kind of refreshment kept me putting one foot in front of the other….and kept me saying yes.
There have been times God has seen fit to refresh me in more tangible ways. He’s refreshed me with healthy family relationships. He’s refreshed me with unexpected surprises. He’s refreshed me, at times, financially. And, yes, He’s refreshed me often with much-needed rest and rejuvenation. The key is to recognize the ways He chooses to refresh us and to celebrate them!
As ministry wives, here’s the lesson we can learn from Proverbs 11:25: Say yes! Don’t protect your time. Don’t guard it. Give it all up to Jesus. Use yourself up for Him. He will refresh and protect you better than you ever could.
I know. I’ve experienced it first-hand.
It’s your turn: How has God refreshed you lately?
Tricia knows what it's like to be a Pastor's Wife. She's been one for over twenty years! She's been coaching Pastor's wives now for over fifteen years and loves mentoring and coaching them through the unique opportunities and challenges that being a pastor's wife can hold. She has been married to Shawn for a quarter (and deserves a medal for that); and has three children: Hannah, Madison, & Paul.