Stories from CEF
Has Ministry Workaholism Taken Hold of Your Life?
By Ron Tant
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
I love Isaiah, one of God’s choice prophets, who served for 40 years during one of the most turbulent times in Judah’s history. He was a prophet of doom AND deliverance. There is speculation that Isaiah was not the only writer of the book, but regardless of who penned it, God’s fingerprints are on every chapter and verse.
Nobody can turn away a message of hope. We, in our hopeless condition, thirst for such messages and need God’s words to penetrate and settle our distraught hearts and calm our fears. In his day, Isaiah had God-visions that propelled believers to keep trusting and keep following no matter what the spiritual conditions looked like around them. And what people saw happening then was an out-of-control world. Sounds a lot like modern day USA.
In Isaiah 43:19 God tells us to gaze upon the new thing He is doing in our midst! He even asks, “Can you not see it?” So many times in ministry we are heads down, work-work-work, like the results are up to us. Many famous pastors have written about the modern–day American workaholic. It is a sickness, an addiction that will consume our every waking thought and action. And if left to itself, unaddressed, workaholism can become an idol in our lives. But God’s “new thing” is something He’s doing, not us.
Without God we can do nothing! But our workaholic mindset fights us by constantly screaming, “Keep going, you’re almost there! Harder, faster, longer, work, sweat, toil!” You can’t shut it off until you stop and decide to shut it out! But even in all our brokenness, God declares He will make “a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Thank God, when we come to the end of all our laboring, He is there making a way where there is no way.
Without God we can do nothing! But our workaholic mindset fights us by constantly . . .
Have you ever cleared trees for a new road? Chainsaws and stump grinders grinding, pulling and lifting logs and limbs to make a way—it’s back–breaking work. In God’s way of doing things, for something new to be created, something old has to die. In this case, something natural—trees, plants and maybe even animals that have lived there for years. When old natural things die, it is never the same again. New life begins!
What do you see in your life that you know must die before God does His “new thing”? Is it loving ministry more than God? Is it an out of balance life? Priorities out of whack? Maybe it’s old ways of thinking that you keep on thinking, even though you know there’s a better way. I sense God is calling all of us to something higher, better, more satisfying.
“Our awesome heavenly Father, take us to new heights – places we’ve never been, places we could never even dream of. Do that new work in us. We know you are preparing us for what you’ve prepared for us! We give you praise, Lord, with all that is in us, in the mighty name of Jesus, AMEN.”
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