WHEN I WAS A YOUNG PASTOR I would regularly go up stairs two at a time. I was gifted with energy, enthusiasm, and optimism—the hallmarks of youth. I made calls three nights a week, preached Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday evenings, and I believed there was no problem our church couldn't solve.
I was pastoring in Tyler, Texas, when an incident made me realize that I could not go on like this forever. Every Wednesday I spoke at a noonday luncheon for businesspeople, an event that drew about two hundred. One Wednesday my adrenaline was not pumping; I was dragging throughout the day. Later a staff member said, "You're not doing real well, are you."
"I'm doing fine," I said. "Why do you say that?"
"I watched you go up the stairs at the luncheon today. You were really laboring. There was no energy in your step—but when you came out in front of the group, you really turned it on. You can't keep doing that."
I tried to dismiss his concerns by saying I was having a tough week. But as ...1