Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
-Romans 12:11-13The Message (MSG)
Almost everything we value in life requires tending. And that tending helps us to attend to all our other tasks, and to the tending itself. It's cyclical. The image here is of a flame. But we all know this pattern. Having energy requires being in shape and eating well. And not having energy makes it harder to exercise or prepare good meals. It takes an initial investment and ongoing commitment to living well to keep living well. Tending a fire is easier if you are warm. Getting lax about tending to our needs makes it harder to attend to our needs.
Spiritual matters are similar. Tending to our prayer and worship life is how we feed our spirit and develop our relationship with God. Tending to our prayer life daily and our worship life weekly helps us to be alert and cheerfully expectant. Neglecting our prayer life and missing worship regularly makes it harder to return to them later. We lose our enthusiasm and zeal.
I was reminded of this when I shared donuts with the pre-schoolers this week. Part of their daily routine is reviewing the calendar, the weather, and their colors. One little boy in particular absolutely loves color time. He could not be more excited. He knows them as well or better than others, but it's his zeal that sets him apart. His enthusiasm is infectious to the other children and his teachers. By the time he gets to the last color, he can hardly contain himself. His fists are clenched, his feet stamp a little, and his ear to ear grin almost keeps him from shouting the color at the top of his lungs. Almost.
But this little one has not lacked in zeal for a moment. The daily repetition has not dulled his enthusiasm or excitement or eagerness to share. Are we as eager for our daily rituals that are so vital to our lives and our growth as believers? Tending to those practices is hard work, but we can keep from burnout by doing so daily.
Prayer for Today
Lord, grant me this day a willing spirit so I may be an enthusiastic servant. Fan my flames, and help me choose to tend to my spiritual life with zeal. Amen.