Leaders have to be careful that they don’t spend most of their time around super-drainers. These are people who plug into you every time you see them, and they drain the blood right out of your brain – figuratively speaking, of course. They come in all shapes, sizes and denominations.
Here are a few whom you’ve probably encountered.
These are the people who hand you a book to borrow (they insist!) and you can bet that you’ll be quizzed on it in a week or two. Then they will ask you every time you see them if you still have it (that book you never asked to borrow) because they have to give it to some other poor soul.
The Wait-a-minute People
These are people who have 10 questions that require essays when you have only 10 minutes to be somewhere else. Like the old G.I. Joe action figure with the Kung-Fu grip, escaping their clutches is close to impossible.
The Up-front Gurus
These are the people who are a little too frank with you. He puts his hand on your shoulder before the business meeting and says something like:
- I’m really concerned about your spiritual condition.
- You don’t look so good.
- Are you stressed?
- Looks like you need more quiet time, friend.
- Life is just passing you by.
- Do you think maybe God has taken the mantle off your life?
The ‘Stand Up’ Super-drainer
This person says something reminds him of a joke. You love jokes, but these jokes take so long that your mind wanders and you begin thinking of something else. Then it hits you. I’ve got to find the punch line in his monologue or else he’s going to know that I wasn’t listening! Was that it? Should I laugh now?
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO PUT THE CAPS LOCK ON ALL THEIR EMAILS AND BEFORE YOU READ A WORD YOU ARE ALREADY DRAINED. THEY LOVE TO USE LOTS OF EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!! YOU DON’T KNOW IF THEY ARE MAD OR JUST WANTING TO PLACE EMPHASIS ON EVERYTHING!!!!
Spiritual super-drainers are everywhere inside and outside the church. They have the potential to destroy your spiritual vitality. Jesus had spiritual super-drainers. Some of them, I’d imagine, were among His chosen disciples from time to time. But we have to keep in mind that God loves those people as much as He loves us. And sometimes these sandpaper encounters are God’s way of smoothing off our rough edges.
One thing my dad and others have taught me in the ministry is that it’s important not to let the super-drainers ruin your ministry. Smile and move on. But always surround yourself with super-chargers. They, too, are everywhere.
Super-chargers are those people who cheer from the grandstands of your life. When you spend time with them, you are guaranteed humor, understanding and new ways to look at things. They don’t force their stories, opinions or agenda on you. They make themselves available to you in the valleys and peaks of day-to-day ministry.
They are the kinds of people upon whom Paul lavished these words:
I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:3-6, HCSB).
These are the people that God uses to touch and bless your life when the super-drainers surround you.