Below is a link to an article published on Christianity.com that depicts how early Christians were interpreted by the Greco-Roman culture. There are so many similarities to our modern culture and much wisdom to be derived from our first-century brothers and sisters.
This also shows why early church confessions and statements of faith were so important. They were responding to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, without and heresies within.
The Christian Church, in its earliest centuries after Jesus, endured wave after wave of persecution. All kinds of insults and charges were hurled at them. A document written in the late 2nd century A.D. called The Octavius of Minicius Felix describes a debate between a Christian and a pagan at the Roman port of Ostia.
Joe Rogan was the ringside announcer for a UFC fight a few years ago. He mentioned in passing that one of the fighters was not 100% healthy. Then he made a comment that stuck with me. Rogan said, “rarely is anyone 100% healthy when he walks in the ring”.
Then he suggested that the fighter had to determine when he or she could fight, perhaps 80% or 90% but if they hold out for 100% they would rarely enter the ring – that’s the nature of mixed martial arts.
I think that is similar to the emotional life of a minister. Charles Spurgeon once said that a Pastor’s primary tool is not the brain or the muscles, but the heart (the seat of the emotions).
As we do ministry throughout the day, we are called upon to match people emotionally. Perhaps we speak with a broken-hearted woman whose family is falling apart, then on to a distraught father who is worried about his prodigal son, then there are hospital visits each with its own emotional weight.
Often times this emotional matching leaves us drained as we return home to our families. Then, we have to deal with the regular issues that come with parenting, marriage, and life.
You are responsible for your emotional tank. You have to guard it, refill it, and maintain it. Here are a few suggestions that may help:
Like the UFC fighter, if you only do ministry when you are 100%, you won’t get much done. BUT, it is possible to maintain an 80%-90% full emotional tank. What helps you keep your emotional tank full? Add your thoughts in the comment section below.
Slightly modified for understanding.