Gordon MacDonald, writing in Leadership Journal Winter 2016 in an article entitled The Day I Hit a Wall

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coined the word ’empty souls’ as when busy Christians run on empty because of their busyness. I like what he writes about preventing this:

Over time I have comprised a bulleted list of the insights that resulted from that December day so many years ago. I include them not because I have mastered them, but because they represent the direction in which I like to walk each day.

• My allocation of time and energy must begin by inserting Sabbath pauses into my calendar before work begins … not after work ends. Because ministry work never ends.

• I have come to appreciate the importance of searching events and personal encounters for the embedded messages of wisdom and discernment that God offers.

• I have tried to be sensitive to the various ways God makes his presence felt: in creation’s beauty and art, in suffering, in study, in various forms of private and corporate worship, in the wonderful stories of Jesus.

• I have gathered a small cadre of personal friends who know my heart (and I, theirs) and who are not reluctant to either encourage me or rebuke me when necessary.

• I have pursued the discipline of intercessory prayer for my family and friends, for the church in the world, for global leaders, for those who suffer.

• I have treasured the insights that come from the biographies of great men and women of God who have lived through the centuries

• I have come to love the Bible, to draw from its pages the thoughts and purposes of God.

• I have understood the importance of readily repenting when I am wrong and quickly forgiving when others have hurt me.

• I have made it a priority to move toward those who are weak and vulnerable with words of hope … as Jesus did.

• I have sought to discipline my lifestyle: to keep free of clutter, to downsize, to keep simple, to accept the obscurity that comes with the aging life.

• I have heard the call of God in my older years to be a spiritual father to any younger people who want to welcome me into their experience.

• I have determined to daily return to the cross and reaffirm my conversion and call to follow Jesus.


We need to avoid ’empty soul’ syndrome and Gordon gives very good advice.