“The Elijah Syndrome”


It was my privilege to be invited to join one of FDC’s small groups for a meeting last night. The room was buzzing with conversations, three teens chatted, children played. The glue of the group is their shared love of the Lord Jesus and after a meal where people were talking about ‘life,’ we settled down to open the Word. They were earnestly working on understanding what the Spirit was saying.  Near the end of the evening, their prayer list was brought out, current needs added. I left encouraged and I believe the others did as well.

We were never meant to answer “the Call” (yesterday’s blog) without becoming part of a larger group. God does not asks us to “do life alone.” We give away our individuality and God places us ‘in His Body.’ Being part of a team is not optional. It is God’s direction.  This familiar passage needs to be etched into our minds when our packed schedules pull us away from fellowship. “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT)

A Christian who walks alone will never reach the level of effectiveness or joy that is possible when she is an active part of God’s church.  We all get worn out, weary, and – sometimes we are even ready to quit!  Who does not tire of endless demands?  The lawn I mowed yesterday will need attention again later this week. The laundry basket you emptied this morning will fill up too quickly again.  That habit you thought was defeated will try for a comeback. Yes, life requires work and it can be especially tiring if we feel like we are working alone.

Don’t be overcome with the “Elijah Syndrome.”  The preacher enjoyed a huge spiritual victory on Mt. Carmel, the fire of God falling from heaven to burn up the sacrifice, a demonstration that called Israel to spiritual revival. But, in his fatigue, he became convinced that “I am the only one left serving the Lord!”  His skewed understanding is almost laughable, but he was serious.  “It is too much, Lord, I just want to die!”  (see 1 Kings 19)  God renewed his heart with food, with comfort of the Spirit, and by giving him Elisha, who worked with him!

God gave Nehemiah the job of leading the Jewish people in an effort to take a pile of rubble that was once Jerusalem and to turn it back into a beautiful city. God miraculously provided the resources needed. But, Nehemiah had to provide the sweat! He planned the work, enlisted the laborers, and resisted his critics. What we often overlook when we read the amazing story of his call to restore that city is his reliance on his team. He had those on whom he relied. The work of the leader would not have been finished without Ezra and Zerubbabel.

There’s a lesson in his story for us. God calls us to be part of a community because He knows life must be shared. “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.” (Romans 12:15, The Message) Alone, we are quickly overwhelmed. Together, we can stand. It is not only for ourselves that we work; it is for our brothers, sons, daughters, wives, and homes.

An acronym that I remember often is based on the word-

Don’t forget that when you’re tired and ready to quit. Instead; reconnect, refocus, and find renewal.

Here is a word from the Word. “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” (Philippians 2:1-4, The Message)

Together, we can do it!

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