When he began writing Ecclesiastes, King Solomon was burned out. The wisest, richest and most powerful man on earth realized the utter futility of every godless pursuit. No man has been smarter, more productive or more respected. Even so, somewhere along the way, Solomon got caught up in the chase and forgot The Goal.
The result? Burnout: 'fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity' (Random House Dictionary).
Burnout's result? Nothing seems new. Nothing feels right. Nothing makes sense. The white flag of surrender begins to rise. If the hand-off goes to God, good. But if we collapse at the enemy's feet, beware. Invisible chains grow. Like... Apathy: nothing matters. Boredom: nothing's new. Skepticism: nothing's true. Inactivity: why try?
Actors, models and talent for Christ: burnout is Satan's game. He invented it: 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven' (Luke 10:18). Because 'The angel of the abyss' (Revelation 9:11) is headed downward, he wants to bring us down with him. However, when Satan was Lucifer, he was a beautiful, brilliant and busy angel.
But all too easily, God's business can be forgotten in personal busyness: chasing goals our Director did not ordain. Obvious examples are money, power and fame. Even so, Solomon chased none of these. His particular downfall began by attachments to the wrong women.
Burnout confused him. When he cried, 'What is crooked cannot be straightened' (Ecclesiastes 1:15), the world's wisest man was fooled (temporarily). Because with God, all things are possible. 'I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight' (Isaiah 42:16).
Conclusions? To avoid burnout...
1) Question busyness. Are your pursuits God-directed and God-glorifying? Pray for guidance.
2) Don't hang with ungodly friends. Going into the world is good. Getting cozy with non-believers is not.
3) Don't settle for an unproductive life. Apathy, boredom, skepticism or inactivity are symptoms of burnout.
4) Stay excited. Embrace each day with enthusiasm. Like children, be thrilled by surprises small and big.
5) Love newness. Look for the good. Because God does both. He will keep your life fresh if you follow Him.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the All Things New series.