“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.
By James and Christel Neuendorf, pastor and deaconess serving together as missionaries in Puerto Rico
Enough is enough
“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:3-9)
How many times have you said something similar to these words of Elijah?
“It is enough; now, O Lord.”
How often have you come home exhausted — physically and emotionally — after a day of visitations, stressful or unfulfilling meetings, and long phone conversations?
How often do you think you have nothing left to offer?
You might say, “I have given all that I have and then some, and it’s still not enough.”
People always seem to need more of your time, your care, and your resources. And you simply can’t keep giving.
Like Elijah, you want to collapse in the shade and declare: “It is enough; now, O Lord.”
In ministry, it can easily feel like no one even sees what you do.
You are so “behind the scenes” as a servant of God’s kingdom that you may truly feel like you are invisible.
It can also simultaneously feel like if one day you just stopped doing what you are doing it seems like everything would collapse.
In God’s Word, He reminds us that it is on Him, not on us, where the burden rests. The truth is you never can give enough; yet He has given everything on your behalf.
God’s love is poured out for you in abundance. Each day we will have relationships and vocational work and struggles in this life, but He gives you His body and blood, His Word, and His people to pour strength into you.
In the 1 Kings 19 text, we read that after Elijah cries out to God in desperation and frustration, he falls fast asleep. He has had enough.
God’s response in sending an angel to attend to Him, which is certainly supernatural, is at the same time surprisingly ordinary.
The angel brings him something to drink and bakes something for him to eat. The angel doesn’t spirit him away to his destination or go out in power to do battle with his persecutors, rather the angel bakes a cake and serves it to Elijah.
Knowing that God gives to each of us in abundance all that we need, take a moment and ask yourself:
- Is there someone that God has sent to me who I might provide exactly this kind of help?
- Are there people who have encouraged me to rest, to eat something, or to take a day off?
- Is there someone who reminds me with some regularity that life and ministry doesn’t all depend on me?
- Has someone brought me a treat or something to eat or drink when I wasn’t expecting it?
You might feel bad asking for help, or you might be praying to God to send supernatural aid while you stand on the brink of giving up.
Is it possible God answers our prayers for help at times by sending someone to bake us a cake?
You are no different than Elijah. Elijah cried out to God knowing that God would listen to him, that He would help him. God knows you are only human.
In fact, God the Father sent a Savior who walked in your shoes, who experienced frustration, anger, compassion, tears, exhaustion and hunger.
He knows how you feel, He knows what you feel, and He doesn’t leave you to your own devices when enough is enough.
He gives you supernatural aid: Word and Sacrament and prayer.
He gives very ordinary aid as well: His people who bring you water and bake you cakes. There are ordinary people all around you who God uses to show you His mercy.
Receive these Divine gifts, don’t be afraid to ask God for them, and stop to recognize them for what they are.
Tell God what you need. Tell people what you need.
You are not alone — even when you think enough is enough.
Take a moment to enjoy the gifts. You have a journey still ahead of you, but, in Jesus Christ, you do not walk it alone.
Rev. James and Deaconess Christel Neuendorf serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in Puerto Rico. Both have served as missionaries in this region since 2008, based in Panama and then in the Dominican Republic.
LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to email@example.com.