MacArthur on Burnout

Here’s an extremely helpful perspective on pastoral burnout and faulty expectations from John MacArthur:

“The very fact that I can stand here and open the Word of God and proclaim the glorious gospel of Christ is a mercy to an unworthy sinner. And the elevation of this is so staggering. The privilege is so overwhelming.

Here’s the good news. It wasn’t my strength that earned this right and it isn’t my weakness that forfeits it. It’s a mercy. I don’t deserve it. God gives it to me as a mercy. And in spite of my failures and my weakness, He continues to give me this mercy. And because I understand the ministry as a mercy, I don’t have a lot of expectations for what I’m able to accomplish. Can you get that thought?

I hear about pastors who have burn out. What are you talking about, burn out? What do you mean? Burn out has nothing to do with hard work. I never saw a plumber that got burn out. I never saw a ditch digger that burn out. It’s not about effort. Burn out is a thing that happens to people who don’t get their expectations met. ‘I deserve better than this, you can’t do this to me. Things aren’t working out. I shouldn’t be treated this way.’

Look, you don’t ever want to be treated the way you should be treated. God doesn’t even treat you the way you should be treated. People get burn out in ministry. They get warped. They get weary in well doing because they have unrealistic expectations of what they think they deserve because they’re qualified, because they’re prepared, because they work hard.

The truth is, every waking day of my life and your life that the Lord gives us the opportunity to proclaim His gospel, it was nothing but mercy. It is a mercy. And I will never get over the mercy of this.”‘

(HT: Ryan Shanahan)


5 Responses

  1. A lot of gold there.

  2. Here is the link it was taken from here is the link of the sermon it was taken from -

    Part of his sermons he did at the 2011 Truth Matters Conference.

  3. Right on target. Ouch!

  4. Not sure how accurate such a comment is by MacArthur. Many of God’s faithful servants burn out in the sense of exhaustion in God’s service. George Whitefield put it, “Lord I am weary in Thy work but not of Thy work.” How would MacArthur describe the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8; 4:9; 11:27? I would not describe it as being “warped.”

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