Sunday, February 2, 2014

Overloaded Plate

An Overloaded Plate
Scripture Reading: Exodus 5:1-23
“Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to these liars! (Exodus 5:9 NLT)
What’s on your plate? Is it filled to the brim? No, not with food! If not with food, then what is it filled with? It is filled to the brim with unfinished tasks, duties, and responsibilities. More than you can possibly handle? You are working with an overloaded plate. How can you possibly meet all the deadlines? Do you feel stress building up? Are your nerve fibers crying out in pain? How close are you to feeling burned out? When is giving your very best not good enough?
     The above scenario has become a serious problem not only in the secular world, but also in Christian endeavors. More and more Christian leaders, pastors, and missionaries are leaving their fields of service because of overload, cut budgets, and stress related pressures. Some organizations are already operating in a crisis mode while others keep plugging along. People are getting burned out because of an overloaded plate. Why? Some blame it on the economy and downsizing while others are simply trying to get more production with less labor.
     My experience over the years is that Christian organizations tend to place more burdens on their workers until their plate is overloaded and they suffer from burn out and return home defeated and broken in spirit.
      When Moses went before Pharaoh on behalf of the children of Israel he was accused of distracting the people (Exodus 5:4), and sent shamefully away. Pharaoh took away the straw and forced the people to hunt for their own straw making their labor more intensive and stressful. In addition the slave drivers demanded that they maintain the same quota of bricks.
     How did the Israelite foremen deal with their situation? First, they asked Pharaoh to lighten the load, but he refused. Then they turned to Moses and said, “May the Lord judge you for getting us into this terrible situation with Pharaoh and his officials. You have given them an excuse to kill us!” (Ex. 5:21 NLT)
     Moses did the same thing that you and I must do when confronted with an overloaded plate. He took the matter to the Lord (5:22). Whenever we begin to feel stressed out, we need to immediately turn to the Lord for relief. This may not be all that is needed, but at least it is a proper place to start. God will help us to refocus our energies upon him, and provide the strength to continue.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you know that it is difficult to say no to a request for help, especially in Christian circles, but we must keep our plate from becoming overloaded and burned out.

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