Would you be able to tell by looking at someone if they were anemic?
Unless you are a medical professional, probably not.
The same is true for detecting spiritual anemia. Apart from a general run-down look (which could be due to any number of causes), there are no outward signs of this inward malady.
30 years ago I was visiting missionaries in multiple locations on the field. Each evening we could gather to chat, and I would share something from the Word that I thought would be encouraging. More than once I heard comments like, “That was so good. I haven’t been in the Word for weeks…”
Spiritual anemia is the result of giving out more than taking in. Missionaries frequently pour themselves out for the sake of others, but fail to take adequate time to refresh their spirits along the way.
This is not purely a matter of physical overextension, the failure to take one day off out of seven. This is a relational deficit. A lack of soul-level connection with the Lover of their soul. It is being so wrapped up in the work of the Lord that they lose sight of the Lord of the work.
Quite simply, it is a lack of abiding. Not maintaining vital connection with the Vine. The ministry which flows out of such depleted souls cannot but be anemic as well.
Tomorrow we will look at some of the causes of spiritual anemia. Meanwhile, what has been your experience? Where have you run into this issue in your care for missionaries?