The Evolution and Equation of Service Martyrdom

I fight laziness.

When I say that I don’t mean that sometimes I don’t feel like working, I mean that most days I would be content to lay in bed until 2:00, get up, eat lunch, and then go back to bed until dinner.

I used to think that maybe I struggled with depression, but I have come to the realization that I’m just pretty lazy.  It is a sin that I have always struggled with and probably always will.

Here is the thing about sin.  It evolves.  What starts out as the initial problem always morphs itself into a bigger, more engulfing, harder to tackle issue.  Laziness is no exception.

I struggle with laziness, but I live in a society and culture that makes it pretty easy for me battle that i.e. if I don’t go to work I am viewed as a dead beat and I don’t get paid.  Because of this I work very hard to make sure I am not viewed as lazy, and here is when it get’s sticky.  I begin to overcompensate for my weakness, in other words I take on too much stuff.  Here is the kicker.  The sin of overcompensation evolves into what I call service martyrdom. Just in case that was a little hard to follow here is a formula I have come up with

My need to be viewed as not lazy (NL) is greater than (>) my desire to be lazy (DL) which is equal to the amount of work I take on (=w)  multiplied by my need for affirmation (A) for the work I am doing which equals service martyrdom (SM).


Simple eh?  So what is service martyrdom?  You may not be familiar with the term, but I am sure you know it when you see it.

Let me play out a scenario for you.

Service Martyr- “Man I am doing sooooo much stuff lately I could really use a break, I wish people would stop asking me to do stuff.”

You- “Well, I understand if you need a break, I am sure we can find someone else to help this time.”

Service Martyr- “No No, I’ll help you out this time, but I’m telling you something is going to have to give soon or I’m going to burn out.”

You- “Are you sure? I mean, I’m very sure we can find someone else to get it done.”

Service Martyr- No it’s ok I’m happy to help, I just need you to know that I have a lot to do.”

You- “Ok…”

This is just one example of how service martyrdom shows up.  If you are someone who is suffering from this disease I would urge you to do two actions.

1) Meditate on Matthew 6. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Jesus is attacking more than just the religious leaders prayer life.

2) Repeat this phrase- “God’s Kingdom has existed long before I have, and will exist long after I am gone.”

If you are someone that finds yourself confronted by a service martyr in your organization I would suggest one action.

1) Stop asking them to do stuff- It’s pretty simple, these type of people are toxic to your organization or goal.  They spread negativity and that is contagious.  If you continue to rely on them for things, you are doing nothing more than fueling the evolution of their sinful attitude.  Gently lead them to Matthew 6, and allow the Holy Spirit to set their heart right before they are able to serve.



About jondrms

Hoping to finish well.
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