Life-Giving and Life-Sucking

My boss-to-be Phil told me a few weeks ago that he describes ministry events as being “life-giving” or “life-sucking.” The latter, of course, not as in something that makes life suck, but something that sucks life out of you. The more I’ve thought about this paradigm the more I like it– it’s a good way of thinking about things, and even helps set priorities.

To start with, you have to figure out what’s life-giving and what’s life-sucking for you. This won’t be the same for everyone– for the extrovert, spending an evening with a crowd of people will be life-giving; for me that’s about as life-sucking as it gets. Life-sucking doesn’t mean you never do a thing, it just means you need to to something life-giving to recover from it. Some things I’ve realized about myself that I need to remember:

  • Life-sucking: being inside. Life-giving: being outside.
  • Life-sucking: internet. Life-giving: reading.
  • Life-sucking: channel-surfing. Life-giving: Movie or show you intentionally watch.
  • Life-sucking: party. Life-giving: close friends over for dinner.

Sometimes life-sucking things are fun, like when I do fish frys for Tyler.

What all this means is that I need to remember which of these things are which. When I come home at the end of the day I might feel like turning on the TV, but in the end that won’t be life-giving– going for a walk with Melissa & Sam will. If I have a free evening, Facebook won’t be a life-giving use of the time, but talking on the couch with Melissa will. And if, for ministry or other reasons, I need to do a life-sucking thing, then I try to prepare myself and enjoy it, planning to follow it up with a life-giving event when I can.

What’s life-giving and life-sucking for you?


3 thoughts on “Life-Giving and Life-Sucking

  1. life-sucking: large groups of people; life-giving: intimate settings
    life-sucking: tv in general; life-giving: reading
    sounds a little similar to yours… here’s one that might be different-
    life-sucking: tedious work; life-giving: sports/working out

  2. this ‘phil the boss’ is wise indeed. i think this is one of those concepts that’s important to realise and come to peace about… i.e. God made us all quite differently and ministry looks different for everyone. it’s important we not judge or critique someone’s M.O. of ministry when it really comes down to our unique designs.

    susan hunt talks a lot about this ‘life giving’ concept particularly as it relates to women (a la Eve) but she takes it beautifully beyond the ‘be fruitful and multiply’ concept.

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