In 2019, Don’t Grow Weary Doing Good
In 2019, Don’t Grow Weary Doing Good
We have lots of hard workers in our church. Hard-charging entrepreneurs. Uber-effective business and government leaders. Energetic teachers. Tireless health-care providers. Multi-tasking super-moms.
Many of these folks are also volunteering in multiple ministries, giving up their precious time to bless our church and our community. And they do it joyfully and passionately.
Still, it’s easy for people to get worn out, even doing things they love. That’s why Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:13: “As for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing good.” Because he knows that doing good can easily make you weary. And it must be universal, because Paul said exactly the same thing in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not grow weary doing good.”
This is the biblical idea of perseverance. Which is different from stubbornness. Some people keep working hard, blessing people, serving the Lord, but it’s mostly out of stubbornness. They’re tired and worn-out, maybe even a little bitter and resentful, but they’ll keep going because their pride won’t let them quit. That doesn’t do anybody any good.
Which is why Paul doesn’t say let us not quit doing good. He says let us not grow weary doing good. Let us not grow impatient and frustrated doing good. Let us not grow bitter and resentful doing good.
This is something I’ve wrestled with from time to time, and after prayerfully asking myself “Why am I weary?” God showed me a few things about myself:
I grow weary when I’m doing good for my own glory. Sometimes I want the ministry of our church to be impressive so I’ll seem impressive. Sometimes I want my sermons to be dynamic because of how it reflects on me. Sometimes I serve people and bless people so they’ll think highly of me. Thinking about yourself all the time makes you really weary!
I grow weary when I’m doing good with my own strength. Sometimes I just put my head down and muscle through things by my own strength, without asking God for his strength. Sometimes I respond to a crisis with action first, rather than prayer first. That’s tiring!
I grow weary when I’m doing good on my own timetable. Sometimes I try to do good, and I get frustrated when I don’t see the results I expected, when I expected to see them. That’s why Paul adds a little tagline in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” You know what makes me weary? When I try to decide when the proper time should be to reap, rather than letting God decide when the proper time is.
I grow weary when I’m doing the wrong good things. There’s an endless list of good things I want to do, but God didn’t give me the gifts to do them all, or the time to do them all, or the calling to do them all! That’s why he put me in a family of believers: so we can accomplish all these good things together. That’s the only way we’ll persevere.
The remedy to all of these weariness-inducing tendencies is to lean more heavily on the grace and peace of God in all the good we’re doing. That’s what Paul prays for just a few verses later:
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you. … The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16-18)
It’s possible to have “peace always, in every way,” every single day of 2019. Total peace, even when your schedule is packed with doing good. Total peace, even when your doing good goes unnoticed and unappreciated. Total peace, even when you’re not sure you have the strength to keep doing good.
How is that possible? “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” That’s at the beginning and the end of both Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Grace! We need it from start to finish. Jesus gives us his grace through his death on the cross to take away our sin and resurrection from the grave to give us new life. That empowers and inspires us to do good just like he did. Which leads us to experience more of his grace.
In 2019, let’s swim in God’s grace so we can keep doing good.