A few months back I began a series that has certainly been challenging and thought- provoking for me. I hope God is also using it in your life. The information discussed comes from a sermon by the senior pastor at my sending church. My notes start with these words: "Like longevity in life, some basic things are needed - right genes, right diet, right exercise, and right environment." Can you see the spiritual parallels? Examining how these principles apply to longevity in ministry on the mission field is forcing me to evaluate whether or not I've been building into my daily life the right sorts of habits and practices to facilitate such longevity. Key is an understanding that God is sovereign and that He is also sufficient.
But what does the practical outworking of those beliefs look like?
I've identified seven essential priorities that help protect from burnout and the temptation to sin... ones that direct and give hope for the future... ones that remind that all is grace and a gift from God.
Those priorities are:
Those priorities are:
- Growing an increasingly intimate relationship with the Lord by consistently, daily and throughout the day, seeking Him;
- Praying without ceasing (steadfastly, continuously, patiently, powerfully);
- Striving to maintain a good balance between personal growth and service or ministry;
- Welcoming accountability;
- Committing to marriage and family;
- Choosing to be teachable even in difficult circumstances; and
- Determining to be a genuine team player.
Last time I wrote, I made the statement that, perhaps, accountability is the most difficult one of all. Those who have conversed with me regarding that statement definitely agree that it is a challenge.
I've been considering two questions:
- Is accountability to our faith brothers and sisters a biblical idea - or is it a tradition of men (the type of behavior for which the Pharisees were so consistently rebuked by Jesus) and the only one to whom we need to answer is Jesus? I believe the Bible speaks for itself on this matter, and I identified several places in the Bible where I believe the principle of mutual accountability is clearly taught and/or encouraged. One of the most powerful passages, in my opinion, is in Genesis, where, right after murdering his brother, God asks Cain, "Where is your brother?" and Cain essentially replies, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?" I believe a clear implication in that passage is that yes, we are to watch out for... watch over... each other.
- What is it about such accountability that creates an environment where longevity and finishing well can flourish?
I'd considered discussing accountability strategies, but I think that is less important than establishing a case for the importance of accountability (i.e. the most recent post in this series) and the rationale for why... maybe how... accountability helps.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, my girls and I watched The Hunger Games together...
To read the rest, please head on over to Missionary Mom's Companion, where I'm posting today. I'd love to hear your thoughts and responses to the questions I bring up.