The ashes were thin and fine where the fire had burned. A wisp of smoke spun up into the late summer air from a few of the ash piles. From what I could see the old boys were right. The “fire line” method of burning brush had worked even better than I thought. In the past I piled everything up high and torched it. Hot and dangerous flames roar up scorching anything near. The heat unbearable. The new country boy way was slow, low flames. Highly controlled.
I remember when I first became a member of a church. I had been a “Christian” for years, but this was my first calling into a church. Something I knew I had been missing and I loved it. I volunteered and joined in on everything. If they needed someone I was there. It was good to feel a part of and needed.
Eventually God directed me to begin KOZ. The story is His and to stay focused here I won’t repeat it (Read my book Year 13). As I began to dig in on KOZ I found it more difficult to be everything to everyone at church. I tried hard. Long days and nights, full weekends. I never wanted to let anyone down and I didn’t want to lose the feeling of being needed and wanted.
The longing to have value to others and feel we have a purpose is core to the human soul. Deep inside we all long for validation and we get it when we show up for set-up team or parking lot duty. We get the kudos and appreciation heart needs.
Statistically it is a handful of the overall church population, or really any organization that do most of the heavy lifting. A few do a lot and most just ride along. What happens next? The few workers are diluted to the point where they cannot operate in excellence. Their focus is blurred. Things begin to get left out or deleted by accident or on purpose. Then they lose their heart for the work and often they leave.
It’s our fault as leaders when we do this. We need help and we have this group of studs who we can count on. We go to them as an easy default. They long to be our helpers and feel important to us.
If you are a ministry leader, a KOZ leader, I want to caution you. You are valued and your efforts do not go unnoticed. If you begin to say yes to everything you are asked to do, your area of expertise, where you trained, where you were called, KOZ, can falter. Don’t do it. Satan wants to take you off the trail, out of your saddle and onto your “bum” on the ground. One of the most important words you can learn as a leader is no.
Burning brush has been a critical element of farm and ranch life. Using the fire line technique instead of a brush pile produced a slow, steady and complete burn. We need to know our volunteer’s heart and calling. We need to know our own hearts and the calling we heard. When we pile it up it will surely burn hot, wide, and high for a little while. Scorched earth burn out can come fast. Sometimes we don’t recover. We lose our passion and the connection we felt early on to the church, the ministry, Jesus.
We get many opportunities to do good works, but only called to a few great things in our lifetime. Focus on excellence in the great things. The slow and steady pace, stay in your lane, learn to say no knowledge can save your heart.