I am one of those people who lives with the gas pedal to the floor most of the time, and the things on my plate, for the most part, are there by my choosing. To put it plainly, this is the life I've chosen.
No one demands a weekly blog, or another book. No one expects carefully designed worksheets for Bible study while at camp. Sunday school students may or may not realize the organization that goes into a year run smoothly.
But I do those things anyway.
This is why: I am an avid reader of the Bible.
Maybe you've noticed, but the Bible doesn't have any examples where it shows laziness or a self-indulgent lifestyle as a good choice. In Proverbs 6:10 and 24:33-34 Solomon tells us, "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man."
Jesus told the parable of the rich fool who had the idea to, "Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (Luke 12:19-20).
In contrast, the Bible often shows people who gave their all, who like the Philippians, gave more than seemed reasonable.
"In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us" (1 Corinthians 8:2-5).
So many accounts in the Bible show people doing hard things, impossible things that could only be accomplished with the help of God.
In the account of the sun standing still, the Israel army marched all night in order to attack the five kings, fought all day, then Joshua asked for more time and the sun stood still instead of going down. I'm not sure how many hours that ended up being, but by my estimation, most of the men would have been awake close to 48 hours, marching, climbing, and fighting.
We have the example of Elijah, who obeyed God and presented himself to the king, knowing the king had been hunting him in order to kill him because Elijah pronounced a drought on the land in judgment of the people's idolatry. Elijah went to the heights of Mount Caramel where the offerings were set: one to Baal, the other to God. After God showed himself the true God "The power of the Lord came on Elijah" and he ran ahead of Ahab's chariot the whole way down the mountain. (2 Kings 18:46).
We have Tabitha, the woman who "was always doing good and helping the poor" (Acts 9:36).
We have the Shunnamite woman who added a room to her house so she could offer Elisha a place to rest whenever he was there (2 Kings 4:10).
We have Joseph and Daniel who got busy and worked hard even though they were taken from home and put in positions not of their choosing.
We have Jesus' own words: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48).
And we have Paul's advice to the Colossians: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (3:23-24).
I have wrestled with an identity crisis plenty. Don't think service in God's kingdom has been easy for me. I don't wake up wondering how I can spend more time away from my children or thinking how fun some of the meetings I attend will be. There have been plenty of times I was on the verge of quitting. A few times I did. I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I've been jealous after reading a post on Facebook of a person who spent the day on Netflix.
But I've come to the point Peter was at when many were walking away from Jesus because the teaching was too hard.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:67-69).
I could spend my life doing a lot of things that don't matter or that wouldn't impact anyone for eternity. I could coast and take life easy and stay out of the pressure cooker.
But I've learned that when you step out in service to God He holds you up and provides in sometimes astonishing ways; that when you step out of the boat, He will allow you to walk on water. And I've learned that when you seek His kingdom first, the rest falls into place. Sometimes He provides help through someone else; sometimes He gives you strength to accomplish all you need to do and sometimes you realize the things you thought were so important, weren't.
So, yes, my ministry cup overflows. I consider it a privilege to be on God's team and will continue to do whatever I can do to serve as long as I have the strength. Sometimes that means I feel the heat, but like the three men in the fiery furnace, I've come to understand I'm never in the heat alone.