J. Oswald Sanders in his classic book, ‘Spiritual Leadership’, writes
If a Christian is not willing to rise early and work late, to expend greater effort in diligent study and faithful work, that person will not change a generation. Fatigue is the price of leadership. Mediocrity is the result of never getting tired.
Now I’m not against good patterns of rest, of Sabbath-ing, of playing – you can tell that from my hurrysickness post! But I think Sanders is saying something valuable here. Gospel work is hard. It’s not necessarily hard in the same way that my work was hard when I was a lawyer. It’s certainly not hard in the same way as manual labour.
But gospel work, when done wholeheartedly, is tiring. And whilst I would never take away from the call to ‘slow’ ourselves to the rhythms of grace, I also know that a leader must expend great effort. The chance to be the catalyst to change a generation comes only to those who will pay the price.
When we want to quit, to moan, to change our jobs, to change our churches or anything else that might temporarily make us feel better (fill in the blank – you have probably already thought this in the last six months, if you are prepared to be honest with yourself!), may we know that fatigue is the price of leadership and that, because of the frailty of the human body, even the rhythms of grace can weary us.
But still, let’s not forget something else. Don’t the Scriptures say somewhere that even though we waste away, we are being renewed inwardly day by day?
You know, on balance, maybe this deal God’s got going on with us is a good one!