There are two things that will ruin any ministry:

  1. a performance orientation
  2. perfectionism

The desire to work, and to do good work, is not bad, but it can get out of hand. Our (North American) culture will ensure that it does.

The needs on any given mission field always outnumber the workers available to address them. The needs that missionaries have outweigh the shepherds that exist to address them. The temptation in both cases is to work harder, work longer, work more perfectly.

That leads to burnout, and burnout has shame attached to it. Anthony Bradley* speaks of the problem of not measuring up:

A narcissistic and performance-oriented culture eventually becomes a culture characterized by perfectionism. A perfectiost culture sets up every man to be destroyed by the shame of not measuring up to his idealized self.

There is only one Shepherd who can meet the needs of missionaries and under-shepherds alike. There is only one Lord with the wisdom and resources to solve all of the problems that people in ministry try to solve. There is only one way to do our work, do it well, and stay healthy: let God be God.

Abide in him. Rest in him. Your place in his heart is not contingent on your performance or the perfection of your work.