Warm Up: Galatians 6:9, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Stretching: Read: 1 Kings 19: 1-18.
RUN: A devotional like this has to make mention of the exercise phenomena known as ‘hitting the wall’. It is peculiar to endurance sports like running and cycling and is a condition of excessive muscle fatigue due to the depletion of energy. Besides general weakness, symptoms can include dizziness, hallucinations, and even fainting. Now, I have to make a confession, I have never experienced this. I have experienced heat exhaustion (a mild heat stroke) and I have lost my sense of equilibrium momentarily upon finishing a marathon. But, I have never run until I fainted or couldn’t run anymore. Maybe I’ve never pushed myself hard enough or maybe I’ve always developed my training to fit my goals. Maybe I just don’t want to suffer! Part of the issue is pacing yourself and preparing for every race according to attainable and reasonable goals. Most athletes like to push themselves, but going to extremes can be both psychologically and physically harmful.
How many Christians (including ourselves) throw their selves into ministry and six months later are burned out? They have ‘hit the wall’. Let me tell you something about the call of God. It is irrevocable on our lives! (Romans 11:29) It’s not something you can run away from like Jonah tried to do. It’s not something you need to recover from. It’s not something that should burn you out. It fits you like a good running shoe fits your foot. But, like physical training, pursuing God and serving others through our gifts and talents requires balance. The reason that this metaphor is so meaningful is that our spiritual walk with God is an endurance race where we must learn to pace ourselves in order that we don’t hit the wall and fall short of the purposes God has for us. Elijah was a classic case of burn out. After defeating the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel he ‘ran for his life’ until he ‘hit the wall’. He was so spent that an angel was sent to care for him. Eventually, God confronted him with this question, “What are you doing here?” He was so exhausted and disoriented that he wasn’t even going in the right direction. God had to send him back the way he came. Has burn out caused you to veer off the path God has set before you? Is it time to retreat and be still long enough that you can hear from that ‘still, small, quiet voice’?
Cool Down: “Lord, I admit that I’ve been striving a little bit and going on my own strength. Like a runner needs to listen to his body to find balance, I need to hear your voice so I don’t miss the mark and become exhausted from the work you’ve called me to do. Protect me from myself so I don’t become weary in my well doing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”