Zeal without Burnout: Seven keys to a lifelong ministry of sustainable sacrifice

Quotes from this helpful little book by Christopher Ash and Alistair Begg:

  • “God so often allows his ministers to come to an end of themselves in order that they might begin to be more useful to his service.
  • And it is worth remembering that none of us thinks we are on the path to burnout until we are nearly burnt out; it is precisely those of us who are sure we are safe, who are most in danger. we need to heed Paul’s warning: so, if you think you are standing firm, be careful you don’t fall!
  • The problem is that we do not sacrifice alone. It may sound heroic, even romantic, to burn out for Jesus. The reality is that others are implicated in our crashes.
  • Perhaps the expression, “sustainable sacrifice” gets to the heart of the idea — the sort of self-giving that God enables us to go on giving day after day.
  • The trouble with being strong and healthy is that you and I begin to believe that we are something other than dust into which God has temporarily breathed the breath of life. Because I can walk, think, talk and act, I begin to believe that I am immortal — and that I will always be able to walk, think, talk and act. But I won’t.
  • Good sleep is a gracious gift of God.
  • The sleepless nights were caused by an addiction to adrenalin that was beginning to have a negative effect in other ways —
  • “We doctors in the treatment of nervous diseases, are compelled to provide periods of rest. Some of these periods are, I think, only Sundays in arrears.” Sir James Brown, The Times, 30 April 1991
  • God needs no day off. But I am not God, and I do.
  • Most people crack up because they try to do what God never intended them to do. They destroy themselves by sinful ambition, just as much as the drunkard and the drug addict. Ambition drives them on.
  • Some of us in a world of social media have a great many Facebook friends, but very few, if any, deep friendships.
  • Think about the kinds of things that drain you and the sorts of things that energize you. Try, so far as it lies in your power, to put in the diary sufficient of the things that energize you to keep you emotional, physical, intellectual, relational batteries topped up.
  • To neglect sleep, Sabbaths, friendships and inward renewal is not heroism but hubris. It is to claim that I am a level or two above normal members of the human race.
  • Gospel ministry is ministry in a messed up world. And there is grace in the disruption, for it humbles me. it shows me afresh my total dependence on God.
  • If joy is to motivate us to gospel work, then joy must be rooted in something outside the fruits of our work, something that cannot be touched by the vagaries and frustrations of this life under the sun.

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Doctor, epidemiologist, husband, father, Christian missionary physician

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