I remember that point in my first ministry when I came to the office, sat down behind my desk prepared to write a sermon and realized I had already said everything I knew to say. I kept going over possible angles for the sermon, and kept running headlong into a brick wall: "Said it. Nope, said it. Said that. Said that too."
I figured my career had reached its conclusion. I was sure that the next sermon would be my valedictory.
Where do ministers go after they've exhausted their knowledge, or perhaps better, when they've lost ways to communicate what they care about? After all, I hadn't really said everything I knew. I just couldn't see the bridges that would take me back to all the knowledge I had accumulated.
Sometimes I still feel that way when I preach or when I write—like whatever good I've had to say has already been said. Not much in front of me from here on out. I start feeling sorry for myself, wondering why inspiration isn't a constant companion.
Some of it is boredom, some of it laziness. You do your thing for a while and you start thinking, "What's next? Surely, there's got to be something that will motivate me."
And do you want to know what usually happens when these thoughts come flitting back through my mind? I eventually think: "I need to get busy doing something . . . something important."