Did you know scripture addresses the issue of burnout?
Volumes of psychology books have been written on the subject, and psychologists have treated countless numbers of people who have been on the verge of burnout. But you don’t have to spend a fortune seeking professional help when you can find it in God’s word.
In Exodus 18, it is recorded that Moses had a great encounter with a very observant and perceptive father-in-law, whose name was Jethro, a Midianite priest. He observed Moses working constantly from the early morning hours until up into the night, listening to the disputes from among his people, the Israelites. His task was to guide them in their conflicts and bring to them counsel straight from God the Father.
Jethro saw how this workload was taking its toll on Moses and offered him some wise counsel (and this is my paraphrase).
“Moses, what you are doing is not good. You are going to wear yourself out micromanaging all the issues of your people. Why don’t you divide the people up into groups of 1,000, 100 and 10. Appoint judges over them, and let them help you shoulder the workload, while you continue to deal with the major issues.
That was very good advice, and regardless of the fact it was given by a gentile priest, the words are inspired by the Holy Spirit. There are other scriptures, which address this subject.
In Acts 6, the disciples were having problems micromanaging the workload of the church in Jerusalem. By the time we get into Acts 6, there were several thousand members of the congregation. An issue arose in the church. There were two groups —the Hellenistic (Greek-speaking) Jews who were converted to Christianity, and the traditional, historic Hebrew-speaking Jews. The disciples were having to neglect their main task of prayer and meditation so they could rightly spiritually feed the flock of God, in order to deliver the daily allotment of food to the widows. The Hellenists were angry because of this oversight, and a real fellowship problem arose in the church.
So the disciples said it was not good for them to neglect the ministry to fulfill this task, so they instructed the church to select seven men from among them to take care of this matter. The results were that the widows were receiving food, and the fellowship of the church was much improved.
Even the corporate world today sees the value of a team mentality. People in corporations and companies are able to buy into the organization, and it even encourages people to take initiative, and the results will be greater work environment, more productive work, and it probably won’t hurt the bottom line of the company.
If you are a member of a church, please never begrudge your pastor of sharing the workload with others. Do not assume he is lazy — he is working smarter, sharing the load with the members of the church.
But why is it so difficult for the leader to delegate responsibility to others?
1. Perhaps the leader cannot trust others to do the job as well as they can.
2. Perhaps the leader fears for his own job security and feels compelled to perform.
3. Perhaps it it jealousy. The leader is afraid someone else will do the job better and therefore upstage them.
Delegating responsibility — it is a principle which is addressed in Holy Scriptures, and when heeded, it will help prevent burnout.