“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.

By Gary J. Ellul, pastor, pastoral counselor and licensed therapist

Strong foundations

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16)

“…and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (1 Cor. 3:23)

I know of a couple who was looking at investment property they could purchase, renovate and either rent out or flip, to make money and purchase another property.

One of the homes they looked at was very promising.

From the outside you could see there was some minor exterior work that needed attention and the landscaping needed some updating.

Going through the main floor, the house was dated and dark, but overall it looked very workable for what the couple had in mind to do with the property.

When they went down to the basement, the promise of this purchase changed dramatically. The house had been vacant for a year and over that year, as well as the years prior, there had been a water leak under the basement floor.

Last winter, as the temperature dropped well below freezing, the vacant home, with no heat, caused the water to turn to ice. This ice expanded, lifted and broke the floor in multiple places.

The house for the most part looked fine and repairable, but underneath it all was a compromised foundation. There was little that could be done with the home.

Just as with a home, our bodies can withstand years of use and abuse and we can continue forward. For many of us we can use some repair and updating.

However, as with this home, we always have to remember that there can come that one winter that changes everything. As a church worker, we all work under the daily stress and pressure of helping and caring for those around us who are in need.

This daily draw on our compassion and empathy can compromise our foundation and leave us fatigued.

This constant pressure can lead us to depression, burnout and what professionals call “compassion fatigue.”

We can forget that we, too, are God’s temples, serving in the calls where our Lord has placed us. Yet, we have this promise — the Holy Spirit dwells within us.

As with a home, we, as God’s temples, require constant maintenance, which the Lord offers us through prayer, meditation and spending time in God’s Word.

We as Christians are called to care for our bodies — precious gifts that have been given to us by God and formed by His very hand. The days of destruction are upon us.

Depression, burnout and compassion fatigue are the realities of a broken world, and they are before our eyes daily in the work we do. These realities, too, can cause fractures in our foundation of hope.

The Spirit helps us in our weakness to know our boundaries and limitations, maintain our physical and spiritual wellbeing, and remember always that we are God’s temple.

Go in peace, serve the Lord … and take care of this temple. The Spirit is caring for you!

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers will be released Monday mornings on the LCMS Facebook and Twitter pages. Church Worker Wellness devotions will also be archived online.

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 workerwellness@lcms.org.