It has been nearly six months since I returned to Indiana to serve as Bishop for the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church. It has been a busy six months, filled with times for getting acquainted, preaching in local churches (38 so far), serving on some of the Boards of Trustees/Directors of our Area institutions, attending meetings (lots of meetings), starting to make appointments, and also serving my responsibilities with the denomination (where I am President of the General Board of Discipleship, a member of the Connectional Table, the Council of Bishops, etc.). It has been a busy first six months.
I find that I am tired, but I am not weary. Tiredness is a good thing when it comes from doing work and ministry that we enjoy and feel valuable. Being tired after a long day of work (work of any type) feels good, it feels satisfying. Being tired from preaching and meeting people feels good. Even being tired from dealing with difficult issues feels good, as long as I have a sense of helping to move toward resolution. Ministry is hard work, if we work at it with a sense of commitment, passion, and urgency to make a difference. It is OK and normal to feel tired from work hard in ministry. And it is important to find days of Sabbath in order to regain our strength.
Weariness is something else. Being weary of one's work and ministry is often a sign of burnout, or confusion, or loss of fulfillment. I am concerned when I encounter clergy or laity who are weary of our ministry. Scripture reminds us not to grow weary: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9 New International Version). For all of us involved in "helping professions" (including clergy) there is a real danger of compassion fatigue and growing weary from our good work. Let me invite all of us to get needed rest during this season of Lent, but also to prayerfully consider how to keep our lives open to God's Spirit who is the source of our strength. And let us not grow weary in doing the good work of our Lord.
from Bishop Michael J. Coyner