During college, I took a physical education course in boxing. The instructor matched each student with someone of approximately the same height, weight, and reach. But my assigned partner kept missing class, so I frequently ended up boxing a fellow twenty pounds heavier. (I had loose teeth the whole quarter!)
Three one-minute rounds seemed to take forever, especially when the opponent danced around the ring and I connected only once every several punches. Fatigue set in quickly.
I learned a lesson that quarter that has stuck with me ever since: You're drained of more energy by swinging and missing than by landing a solid punch.
Now that I am in church ministry, I see a number of people who are worn out in their ministries while others put in a lot more time yet remain refreshed. I suspect that the differences rest not in their commitment level or energy level as much as how well their ministry job fits. When expended energies "connect," people last longer.
The church's traditional pattern ...1