Monday, August 9, 2010

Exhaustion, Ninjas, and Spirit-Filled Hosts with Big TVs

This has been a busy year.  Life Groups are growing.  Serve Elyria keeps getting bigger.  Christy gave birth to our first child, and a second is on the way!  It may seem strange, but all the good things going on left me worn down.  My mind was dull, my spirit was dry.  At first I didn't notice.  Exhaustion doesn't just show up one day and tell you you are tired and need rest.  It's sneaky, like a ninja.  Last year after some vacation time, I came back charged up.  I had ideas, spiritual renewal, and was pretty sure I could kill an alligator with my bear hands (That may have been a late-night, caffeine-induced episode...or maybe not).  Little did I know, the Exhaustion Ninja was lurking in the shadows.  For months, he stalked me, waiting for the best moment to attack.  Slowly, he set his traps and waited.  He made swift hits here and there, each time darting away before I knew what hit me.  Over time, I was weakened by his blows.  Some days I would  feel ok.  Other days I would feel frustrated and disoriented.  He was wearing me down.  At times, I would think I felt a little better, but really my "OK" just has lower standards.  I just wasn't myself.  It was time to fight back.

Christy and I were headed to a wedding in Virginia and decided to make it into a vacation.  We met my parents in Williamsburg and had a few nice days with family visiting historical sites and Busch Gardens.  It was a good time, but as we drove away Christy and I both acknowledge that we still didn't feel we had enough vacation yet.  The ninja had not been conquered, though he had been dealt a blow.

The wedding was in a town we had never visited, and we knew almost no one other than the bride.  However, she had arranged for us to stay with a couple from her church whom we did not know.  It is an awkward thing staying in someone else's home.  It can be made worse when they are strangers. But, this was different.  When we got there, they showed us to a room upstairs with our own bathroom.  The king-sized bed faced what I am sure is the biggest high-definition TV Sony makes.  It was as if we had been declared king and queen of TV Land.  This great bed was our throne and the remote my scepter.  I had dominion over hundreds of channels.  We had a reign of peace and prosperity.  I watched a couple shows on Animal Planet and realized that it really didn't matter what I watched.  Everything was interesting, because everything looked real!  I saw a few minutes of Whale Wars on Animal Planet and spent most of the time amazed at how crisp and blue the Arctic water looked.  I can't really remember the details of the show, but I rested.  I turned off my mind and enjoyed some mindless, wholesome entertainment.  It was a great day.

The next day, we were able to spend some time with our hosts after the wedding.  We struck up a conversation and ended up talking for hours about life and ministry.  As we sat in their living room, I noticed that the TV they used was much smaller and not nearly as nice as the one in our room.  They had actually invested more in their guest room than in the room they use themselves.  Further into the conversation, I found out that they host guests often, usually people connected with the church that need a place to stay.  Sometimes, they don't even get to meet the people they host.  They just know that it is a needed ministry and that God has gifted them to serve as hosts.  After dinner together (which they provided), Christy and I went to bed having made some very good new friends.

We left the next morning realizing that we had genuinely rested.  Something  happened there that went beyond mere kindness.  These two servants of God genuinely had the gift of hospitality and used it liberally.  As recipients, I can tell you that we experienced spiritual renewal there.  Praise God for Spirit-led servants!  The Exhaustion Ninja is broken and bruised thanks to those Samurai's of Servanthood (Corny, I know.  But, I couldn't resist).

Do you ever use your spiritual gift and wonder if it really is blessing anyone?  Do you ever think what you do is small and doesn't matter?  You are doing more than you can ever know.  Stay faithful.

What kinds of blessings have you experienced when someone else used their spiritual gift?

1 comment:

  1. Your post definitely encourages me to open up my house (when we get one) even more than we were planning to do. I think it is critical for pastors to be taken care by their lay people. So if there is anyway I can help keep those ninjas off your back just let me know!