Burn Out, Rust Out or Last Out?

In our early days of being challenged for missions through The Navigators, the idea of going all out 100% for Christ’s cause was the challenge.  Of course, that’s what we want to do — only one life, ’twill soon be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last!”  But how we do that is also important.


Since we don’t know how long we’ll live, we do need some type of ‘pace.’  I’ve just had my 72nd birthday.  I didn’t realize I’d accomplish 44 years in missions, but I did.  How was my pace?  Some positives, some negatives.  Wished I could have done more, or done it better.  But at least we made it this far and we’ve got life today to invest for Jesus!

Tim Herbert is a Chartered Secretary who spent five years working as an administrator in southern Africa and has made numerous short-term missions trips to Africa, Asia and South America, including leading summer teams.  He continues to work with contacts he has made abroad and provides support for them.  He also has a variety of roles with Global Connections, the European Evangelical Missionary Association, Member Care Europe, Springdale College: Together in Mission and the Fellowship of Churches of Christ.  This blog comes from his Member Care website, Syzygy.

Burn out or rust out?

C T Studd (1860-1931)“Last week’s blog was a well-known poem from an earlier time, when Christian mission was marked by a zeal and an urgency which is not often seen today.  Zeal has been replaced by moderation, and urgency by a strategy of nudging people gently into the kingdom of God rather than pushing them.  Different times, different ways.

One striking feature of the poem for me was the desire to ‘burn out’ for God.  It meant something different in those days, rather like a candle continuing to burn all the way to the end rather than sputtering out halfway.  Today, burning out is the result of dangerous levels of stress and overwork and is to be avoided at all costs.  We might occasionally see a bumper sticker which says “It’s better to burn out than rust out” but in fact neither is good.  The best option is to last out.

‘Lasting out’ recognizes that our life and Christian ministry is neither a sprint nor a stroll – it’s a marathon.  If we take it too slowly we won’t get very far, and if we take it too fast we’ll run out of energy.  We need to find a sustainable pace somewhere in between the two extremes.”  (read more . . .)


About Dave Grissen

David & Sheri Grissen spent 44 years in mission and humanitarian aid work. In 2003 they established Life Impact, a ministry of strengthening Christian workers in hosted centers, called Oases. Presently 12 Oases are functioning. www.LifeImpactMinistries.net. In 2016 they started Fund The Ministry to help missionaries create new funding for their ministries. www.FundTheMinistry.com. They have five married children and fifteen grandchildren.
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