November 28, 2018
READ: 1 Kings 19:1-18
I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. . . . I am the only one left (v.14).
Pastor and teacher Tommy Nelson experienced clinical depression related to a nonstop schedule. Reflecting on that time in his life, he said, “I didn’t know that you could get totally, completely burned out doing what you loved.” Despite the fulfilment his multiple ministries brought him, a lack of rest led him to become incapacitated. Over time, however, his situation improved as God renewed him through means such as counselling, encouragement and relaxation.
Perhaps Elijah experienced a similar kind of burnout after an intense string of ministry events led him to a cave on Mt. Sinai. There, God listened patiently as the prophet explained, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the [Israelites] have . . . torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too” (1 Kings 19:10).
Elijah was overwhelmed, isolated and feeling the emotional pressure of a belief many of us share: It all depends on me. In reality, it all depends on God. God helped Elijah understand this by shifting the prophet’s responsibilities to others. Elijah would begin training Elisha to take his place, and God encouraged him by revealing there were still 7,000 faithful followers of Him in Israel (vv.16-18).
The idea that God’s work in a certain area depends primarily on us can add unnecessary pressure to our lives. Although He can provide His amazing strength to meet specific demands, God knows that people have limits (Isaiah 40:7). Rest isn’t an obstacle to fulfilling our responsibilities; rather, it’s the God-approved means by which we can continue to press on in our mission for Him.
365-day plan: Galatians 5:13-26
Consider what Jeremiah 31:25 reveals about God’s character.
Why are we sometimes reluctant to ask for help with our responsibilities? In what ways might you be able to help someone who’s overburdened this week?