Charles and Alex [soon-to-be] Sharrer and have asked me to perform their ceremony. This letter isn’t the wedding sermon I’ll deliver Labor Day weekend, but it’s just as personal and just as appropriate.


You’re at a very exciting time in your life. It’s a time of possibility and adventure, where every conversation broadens your horizons and reminds you that you’re just getting started. This is the season where you’re discovering who God has called you to be and what God has called you to do. It is the time in your lives most shaped by destiny and desire, by purpose and promise.

I remember those days with fondness, and wish you well.

When I knew I wanted to marry Carmel I began to save up for an engagement ring. I stopped going out with friends. I worked extra jobs. I worked odd jobs. I sold some of what I owned. I pawned some of the things I loved.  I did everything I could to save money. I became consumed with saving as much money as quickly as humanly possible, so I could get the ring and ask the girl of my dreams to marry me.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was establishing a pattern for how to get the things I wanted. I was subconsciously teaching myself some things were so important that everything else had to be sacrificed in order to have them. Unwittingly I cultivated a work-ethic that bordered on mania, but only in service to what I wanted right then.

I don’t mean to suggest the sacrifices I made to earn the ring were foolish. Carmel was worth it. But most everything else is not.

The problem is that our greatest resource is also our greatest treasure. The biggest bargaining chip we have is also the thing we ought to protect above everything else. The one thing we’re tempted to give away is just about the only thing we should never surrender: ourselves.

When we want something badly enough, we’ll do just about anything to get it. We’ll work longer hours, work poorer jobs, accept lousier excuses, put up with more difficulty, and survive on less sleep. But you are not an inexhaustible resource. Once you start spending yourself, you stop being the person God has called you to be. You become irritable with the people you love, stingy with your money, jealous of your time, defensive about your character, dismissive about faith, and harsh in your estimation of other people’s suffering.

Everything in this world seeks to commodify us, to turn our lives into something that can be traded, bought, used up, and ultimately thrown away.

God is the only exception.

God does require that we deplete ourselves,[1] but only so he can fill us up again.[2] Whereas other things will use us, God promises to renew us day by day.[3]

I have been burned out at work, burned out on relationships, and burned out on hobbies as diverse as travel, exercise, and the arts. The only way I ever get un-burnt is through Christ. He is the healer, sustainer, restorer, redeemer, and Creator. [4]

As you dream about your life and craft the way you want it to look, don’t neglect God. Don’t even try to make God part of your life. Re-orient your life around Christ Jesus.

He makes all things new.[5]


[1] Galatians 5.24.

[2] Romans 15.13.

[3] Isaiah 40.31.

[4] Matthew 8.16; Psalm 55.22; 1 Peter 5.10; 1 Corinthians 1.30; John 1.3.

[5] Revelation 21.5.