Don’t Miss God’s Greatest Gift

It’s possible to be so busy in ministry that you don’t receive ministry.

That’s a great risk for any leader in the local church.

It’s good to give, but if your tank becomes empty, you have nothing left to pour out. And it’s in the Christmas season that this reality becomes highly prevalent.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, right? Then why so much stress? That’s an old question with lots of answers, but few solutions.

The main solution is simple, but not always easy to do … slow down, at least a little. Enjoy your family, play a little. I know you are “on” for the holidays, but you can find some time to protect, even with all the services on Sunday, Christmas Eve and other commitments.

My “kids” are in their late twenties now, and they still love Christmas like when they were little. I love Christmas too. We enjoy our family traditions, favorite foods, games and opening gifts around the tree on Christmas morning. But I would also admit that it’s still possible to miss the greatest gift if I’m not intentional. Don’t let Christmas become professional.

As leaders, we invest incredible amounts of effort and energy so that others may receive the greatest gift. This investment can cause the spirit of Christmas to become more professional than personal.

Don’t miss the greatest gift:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16-17

Christmas is personal. 

3 Reflections for Leaders on the Run:

1) Love is always personal.

When I think about my family and how much I love them, it keeps me grounded about how love must be translated in my life and in the local church. God’s love is personal, individual, and His Son made it sacrificial.

God reaches for the one – at a time. It’s personal. We want to reach the many, and the passion behind that is good, but if we’re not careful, we can lose the personal touch and then we’ve lost God’s heart.

For you to communicate God’s love authentically, it’s important to be deeply in touch with His love yourself on an intimate level. That means it’s not enough to understand love theologically; you have to experience it personally.

What does that look like for you?

2) Love fuels and refreshes your soul.

Love cannot be experienced at high speed. Slowing down is required. A few years ago, God spoke plainly to me in a prayer time. I was in a mode of rushing, praying quick and blasting off for my day. He said, “It’s OK if you leave now, but if you want more of me, I cannot be rushed.”

I’ve thought a lot about that moment, and that truth translates to every close friendship and family relationship as well. Love simply can’t be rushed, and when you take the time love requires, your soul is deeply fueled and refreshed. Peace increases and that low-grade anxiety diminishes.

I get why we as leaders run fast, there is so much to do. But I encourage you to slow down, at least long enough to get your tank refueled.

3) Love teaches you how to receive.

The majority of leaders I know are good at giving but not at receiving. At risk of sounding contradictory, it’s difficult to give from the heart unless you can receive freely at a heart level.

Most kids quickly learn to receive love from their parents. Then as they mature, they can mirror that experience by giving love to others.

As Christians, we must first receive God’s love, before we truly can give God’s love to others.

I understand why you might have your guard up, but you must let it down to allow love in.

In this Christmas season, soak in the love that others give you. It’s part of God’s greatest gift; it’s the human expression of God’s love.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Miss God’s Greatest Gift”

  1. I love this Dan. This is so relevant and not only at Christmas. “God cannot be rushed.” This makes me reflect on the question, Do I want God or am I only seeking his things or his blessings. If we want to know God, we have to walk with Him. My wife and I like to take walks together and we talk while we walk. But in order to have those conversations I cannot walk ahead of her or behind her. We have to be in stride with each other and walk at a pace where we can communicate while we walk. That is the picture I have of this point “God cannot be rushed.” Genesis 5:22-24 says, “Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.” Doesn’t get any better than that.

  2. SO good, Dan. This is such a great reminder for pastors, but also for my people. Can I use this outline on Christmas Eve? It’s kind of where I was going, but you said it so much better 😉 I’ll give you credit, of course.

      1. Thanks, Brother – SO appreciate your insights into my life and ministry regularly…SO need them. May you know God’s presence and joy this Christmas with your family, church, and ‘downtime.’ Grateful for you.

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