Seeing people take down Christmas lights takes me back to my childhood when I was around eight years old. I am across the street at Neil's house. His father is checking the strand and discarding the burnt-out bulbs before putting them up. Somehow my friend, who was about a year younger than me gets them later. His father is nowhere to be seen now as Neil's throws a bulb in the street to watch it explode. I don't know if Neil's dug the bulbs out of the trash or if his father let him have them but for some reason he found a thrill in shattering glass.
Strange, isn't it to want to destroy something that once brought light and smiles. Well, it was already broken so it couldn't bring light anymore. Still, the adult in me looks at the memory and the green shards on the blacktop and wonders: as Christians are we sometimes broken, discarded, and then shattered? Beyond repair?
They have lightbulb repair kits now and even if a bulb couldn't shine, it could be repurposed. But not if it's shattered. The same holds true for Christians. Yes, we go through burn-out but we can shine again. It may be we have to step away from ministry but we can be nurtured to serve again. We can be repurposed but not if we're shattered.
So next time you see a brother or sister in Christ going through burn-out, don't stand on the curb and chuck them high into the air to see what will happen. Put them aside in a safe place and see what God will do. He may repair them to full glory or change their purpose. Still with God guiding, we will see them shine again, albeit differently, as long as that is what we are hoping for.