Do more or pray more?

There’s a fork in the road when ministry heats up and life gets busy. Either you do more, or “you pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to┬ásend out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37). Guess which one I do more often?

If you haven’t guessed, I confess that I conclude I need to do more. I need to spend more time helping more people using my gifts in the service of God. Intuitively, this makes a lot of sense. Spiritually, though, that’s not the path Christ blazed.

That’s the temptation, isn’t it? When you feel like you are in over your head, you should spend more time working harder to get more done and emulate those who do the same. Yeah, like those who brag that they work seventy or eighty hours a week.

Wait a minute. I’m not following them. I’m following Him. And when Jesus needed help, he enlisted the pray-ers around him. “You better pray that God sends some help.” He wasn’t going to put in overtime. He wasn’t going to make the ministry happen. Nope, his approach was different. “You guys better pray for some help.”

That’s my new mantra. When a can’t keep up, can’t carry the load, can’t possibly do it all, I’m going to come clean. “You guys better start praying for help.”

You know, it took me about thirty-five years of ministry to learn this lesson. I learned that I can do a lot. I can do more now than I could before. I can learn new skills, manage my time better, be more productive and optimize my time. But I’m also tired. I’m not the Christ. And not even he tried to do it all. He didn’t bear the burden of saying all the prayers.

Bottom line: “You guys better start praying for help.”