Serve Instead of Compete

My new mini-book, Surviving Religious Burnout, is out now. You can order it at Amazon, Kindle, Apple Books, and Barnes and Noble. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2. You can read Chapter 1 Here.

Surviving Religious Burnout Part 3

“The temptation of the age is to look good without being good.”

Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

The Grateful Ones

Your faith is not a race against other Christians to the top. If you feel the need to do better than others, then you may be stuck in a pattern that leads to religious burnout. 

A burnout mindset tries to maintain different statuses of Christians. This class system is silly. The distance between you and anyone else is so minor compared to the gulf separating all of us from God without Christ. Your good works are not enough to attain or maintain the gift of righteousness. 

In his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Jonathan Edwards said, “What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?” There is only one class of Christian, the grateful ones.

The Way Out of Judging

“Love is a one-way street. It always moves away from self in the direction of the other. Love is the ultimate gift of ourselves to others. When we stop giving, we stop loving. When we stop loving, we stop growing, and unless we grow, we will never attain personal fulfillment; we will never open out to receive the life of God. It is through love we encounter God.”

Mother Teresa, Where There Is Love, There Is God

How do you unwind the knot of Christian elitism? It starts with serving. Helping others breaks the need to compete. It makes sure God gets the glory instead of you. Serving brings us back to loving, and loving is the way out of judging.

Avoiding Tragedy

One of the greatest tragedies of Christian leadership is to get to the top of your ladder and realize it is leaning against the wrong building. Jesus leaned his ladder on serving. He gave us the story of the Good Samaritan as our example for effective leadership (Luke 10:25-37). 

“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.  Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

V31-34

While two others were worried about their position, the Good Samaritan worried about people. The religious people who walked on the other side of the road avoided a tragedy but became one instead. The Samaritan was willing to get behind, so someone else could get ahead. He served and became a conduit of love that is still flowing today.

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