Faithwriters.com Challenge – 9th March 2017 – Intermediate – Topic: Onerous – 2nd Place
Six months ago I left behind congregational leadership to take on a new role within my denomination. I had asked for I change, but did not bargain on the dramatic impact it would have on me. At times I feel overwhelmed by the plethora of demands, though my predecessors tell me it takes at least 12 months to adjust to the role, so there is some hope of relief.
In the meantime, there has been an unpleasant side effect to this tsunami of new experiences: activities that used to be a pleasure have become tiresome. My weekly writing challenge feels like a chore, language learning demands too much brain power and when preparing to preach I feel tired and weary; even my music making only lifts my spirits for a short time.
I feel a little bit like the Israelites who hung up their harps and cried “how can we sing the Lord’s songs in a strange land?” (Psalm 137:4). The harvest for doing good (Galatians 6:9) seems too distant to be a realistic motivation to keep going.
Yet into this dry and barren space come the refreshing words of Eddie Askew, missionary director, writer, painter and perhaps the voice of God to me. He comments on Psalm 137 that the Israelites assumed God was only present in Jerusalem. Have I inadvertently made the same mistake in an organisational sense? Am I looking at my situation as a job I chose or a calling from God? If the former, I had better shape up or ship out. But if God has called me, then my guiding principle should be “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ ” (Isaiah 30:21).
Perhaps then the myriad things I have committed myself too in work or leisure will cease to be onerous tasks and become stepping stones a greater purpose for me, for my church and for God’s Kingdom.