Article Republished By Javier Troconis
For job recruiters, there are sometimes debates about hiring for skill versus energy. Both are essential qualities, but while skills can be developed, energy is more difficult to cultivate in a person. Of course, it is unrealistic to think that any hire is going to be 100% passionate about their job. Instead, when employers and employees maintain an attitude of curiosity and a willingness to grow within an environment of open communication, it is often a recipe for a healthy workplace.
When I started pastoring, my skills were sparse but I had a fair amount of stamina. As I grew more proficient and complex demands increased, my energy started to fade. It wasn’t until I committed to a regular, personal practice of prayer that I experienced sustainable energy.
In the church, energy is not something that is self-generated. Church folks too often think they have to “work up the energy” in order to serve or do a variety of tasks. When church members believe things are done through willpower, burnout is typically nipping at the edges of their ministries. A praying person may become physically tired on occasion because life brings with it some draining seasons. However, a person who relies on the Spirit does not experience spiritual impoverishment because they know an inexhaustible supply of energy is available. Plugging into an infinite power source always revitalizes an individual and a faith community.
The most vibrant prayer ministry I have experienced was next to the bed of a church member living in a nursing home. He was in constant prayer for his caregivers, family members and congregants. While he was physically challenged in managing the effects of a stroke, he continued to access and share spiritual power. I looked forward to my visits with him because he was deeply tuned in to a channel reserved for the spiritually alert.
Sharing skill and energy can impact others for decades. I will never forget attending an Easter Vigil as a child. I was captivated by the voice of the lay reader tasked with reading many of the Hebrew Bible selections that night (for the Easter Vigil Mass, there are nine scripture readings followed by pieces of the Psalms). The lay reader wore thick black-rimmed glasses, spoke in a stirring baritone and certainly “the Spirit of the Lord God” was upon him. He modeled that there is never merely a reader and a Biblical text. Rather, there is always a reader and a text accompanied by the Spirit.
Personal effort is a necessary and good start, but any work in the church is brought to completion by the Spirit. That is why self-importance and self-centeredness are not to find a landing pad in a congregation. The work is done for God, following in the way of Jesus, in communion with the saints and by the power of the Spirit. Gratitude is offered to people who have contributed labor and resources and the glory is left for the One who created it all.
In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). Spiritual gifts are not earned or deserved, they are lovingly entrusted to people by a gracious God. Talents are things that come to people naturally while a gift of the Spirit is provided to people supernaturally. God gives the spiritual gifts, along with energy, so that the beloved community may continue to be constructed on earth as it is in heaven.
If we think for a moment about the most impactful people in our lives, the teachers, coaches or mentors: it is likely that they generously shared a combination of skills and energy.
While physical energy may be up and down over the years, spiritual energy is unceasing.
Rev. Elizabeth Goudy is Pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of the LV www.mcclv.org