Running On Empty

Ten days from now, I leave for a vacation.  I need it.

Between now and then, I have six sermons to preach, a new Wednesday night class book to finish writing, and the first three weeks of the Summer Hiatus Challenge to finish up and submit for editing.

This has been quite a summer.  To think when the book came out June 1 I thought the hard part was over.  Not so fast, my friends.  June 15 we leave for Bible camp.  Getting there was an adventure; getting through the week was an ordeal.  Coming home, we have two weeks to get ready for the Gospel Meeting and Children’s Bible Hour.  Then, the week of the meeting, we are preparing for a mission team to come for a Super Saturday VBS.  By itself, the sheer number of cookies would boggle the mind. 

And if that weren’t enough, the preacher holding the meeting got sick midway through.  To his credit, he came back Monday and Tuesday nights even though he was in no condition to speak.  But Wednesday afternoon around 4:00, the call I was expecting finally came.  “You’re on for tonight.”

He’s doing better, by the way.

On the one hand, this summer has been absolutely exhilirating.  Last-minute scrambling for camp paperwork, solo-counseling a cabin full of 14- and 15-year-olds for two days, extra teaching, extra preaching, extra writing, everything that goes with book promotion (including another signing at the public library Monday), our first VBS in a decade — it’s been wonderful, possibly the most fun six weeks I’ve ever had in ministry.

But I’ve reached my limit.  Physically, emotionally, spiritually, creatively, I don’t have anything left.

I write in the book about “living within your means,” knowing how many balls you can keep in the air and not picking up any more than that.  Lately, I’ve been trying to do too much.  I’m afraid that for the next few days, I and the people around me are going to pay the price.

Long story short — if anything good comes out of me in the next ten days, it won’t be because I did something noteworthy, but because God saw fit to scrape something off the sides of this empty vessel and put it to His use.

How this is different from any other time, I don’t know.

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