God’s Work at 100 mph

Trying to give the author the benefit of the doubt, I decided to read the article to see if they discouraged the folly of such a lifestyle and helped managers reassess not only the practical “how,” but the deeper “why” that leads to such burnout…. How is that possible if the best advice from Christians to other Christians in the management profession is to simply practice what can be found in pretty much any other management magazine?

I was glancing at a Christian management (I do NOT like that phrase) magazine and a title on the cover caught my eye, “Doing God’s Work at 100 mph — On Empty.” Two thoughts immediately flashed in my mind. The first one was, “That’s just wrong!” Anyone trying to “do God’s work” at such high intensity with such drained resources is doing something wrong. I wish someone had the guts to call that kind of stuff what it really is — Sin!

The second thought was, “Okay, I want to see what they have to say.” Trying to give the author the benefit of the doubt, I decided to read the article to see if they discouraged the folly of such a lifestyle and helped managers reassess not only the practical “how,” but the deeper “why” that leads to such burnout.

Let me just say, I was terribly disappointed.

The article was a roundtable between three Christians who were “seasoned managers.” They shared “their very best practices, practical tips and timeless insights.” Here’s their “best” in a nutshell:

1. Get in balance by realizing that God has called us to use our giftedness to do the things he’s appointed us to do.

2. Practice the four D’s — Dump what you can, Delegate to other people, Defer what can wait, and Do what’s left.

3. Meet with a friend twice a month for fellowship and accountability.

4. Examine why we say “Yes” to certain activities and opportunities.

5. Engage in a creative hobby.

I have to be honest. I’m not very familiar with this magazine and the article was pretty short. But this was a “Christian Management” (did I mention how I don’t like that phrase?) magazine and I was hoping for more. Christians, who are managers by occupation, are to embody, demonstrate and announce God’s presence and power in their world as much as anyone else.

How is that possible if the best advice from Christians to other Christians in the management profession is to simply practice what can be found in pretty much any other management magazine? How are these Christians supposed to be different than their non-Christian counterparts?

There was no mention of spiritual formation, lifestyle changes, or spiritual exercises. The article simply assumed that busyness and depletion were the standard fare for the Christian manager. How sad.

Now compare that advice to what Jesus says in Matthew 11:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Now that’s good advice, the kind that will actually make a difference in the world!

3 thoughts on “God’s Work at 100 mph

  1. What is really sad is that this problem is not limited to just Christian managers, but is also epidemic among Christian pastors and leaders. What in the world are we thinking? Perhaps thats it! We are thinking in the worlds terms.

  2. Hi Steve. If I’m not mistaken, I think this is your first official posted comment! Very cool! And equally profound. We are guilty too often of thinking in the world’s terms.

    I remember several years ago defending teaching from John Maxwell, saying “Principles and practices that work in the world can work equally well in the local church.” What I didn’t realize at the time is that all principles and practices have an underlying philosophical and theological framework. So while they may “work,” they eventually import not just the outcomes like stress, competition and other issues, but also their basic and much deeper undergirdings.

    In contrast, I think of Jesus’ statement, “My kingdom is not from this world.” And the implication is that although it is not from this world, his kingdom is FOR this world. That means wherever Christians live, work and play, they do so as ambassadors of Jesus’ kingdom — a reality not from this world, but definitely for the sake of this world.

  3. jason, I’m not surprised at all… but yes, its disappointing. Thankfully, change is a comin.. the power that raised Jesus from the dead doesn’t stay in the tomb 🙂

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