When life flows on in endless work

The time of year likely has something to do with the weariness I’m hearing from the folks within my client circles, but that’s not the whole of it. The simple fact of the matter is that staff in nonprofit settings — the CEO, to the person answering the phone, to everyone in between – are being asked to do more with less. It’s the norm for two (or more) jobs to become one, with little hope they’ll be put asunder anytime soon.

All due respect to organizational theorist Jim Collins, but good isn’t the enemy of great – at least not within ministry organizations and other nonprofits. It’s busyness, in the extreme. That’s my observation.

hanging_on_to_time_400_clr_9418Calendars are crowded with too many tasks as holes in organizational infrastructures grow bigger by the year. In the words of an exhausted executive director, “I consider it a victory if I get half-way through half my to-do list in a day. Mostly, I’m hanging on for dear life. Reading, thinking, resting – those are luxuries for another time.”

I see those heads nodding knowingly. We (yes, I include myself among the over-tired) feel the speaker’s pain. It is ours.


This past Friday, as an intense conversation about fundraising planning and year-end donor work drew to a close, a new client prayed words I very much needed to hear.

“God, we come to you tired and anxious. In the weekend ahead, may we accept the rest you’ve promised. Help us to slow down – for fun, for time with family and friends, and for you – so that we can return to work on Monday rested and revived.”

Then yesterday, my Sunday school class joined voices in words I very much needed to sing.

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing!

All things are mine since I am his! How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my in-most calm, while to the Rock I’m clinging.

Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

(“My Life Flows On” by Robert Lowry)

When life flows on in endless work, take hope. God is there with a promise we very much need to receive – of rest in the midst of busyness.  That my friends isn’t just good. It’s great. Really great.

For more encouragement if you’re among the weary, see:

Rushing toward rest and relaxation

Note to self: when evening gilds the sky, turn off the computer

Fundraising and eating elephants

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