Jump Start # 2614
2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.”
Our verse today sounds as if they could be the words of a coach telling his players to stay with it, keep going. Weary. Don’t get weary. Paul told the Galatians a similar thing. I find that interesting. Different letters to different churches in different times. Yet, both were told, do not grow weary.
Weariness can lead to discouragement. A person can just feel overwhelmed. There is just so much to do and I can’t seem to get ahead. Weariness comes in different forms. Most know physical weariness. Using muscles you haven’t used in a while and the next day you feel it. You help a friend move on a Saturday morning. That Saturday morning stretches into Saturday evening. By then you are tired. You are ready to just plop in a chair and do nothing. I know that feeling. A day or two later and you are back 100%.
But there are other forms of weariness. There is emotional and mental weariness. A long time addiction in the family wears the family out. Here we go again, someone says. Arrested again. Fell off the wagon, again. Needing money, again. Lost another job, again. It’s that “again,” stuff that wears on you. You love them and want the best for them, but you wonder when, if ever, they are going to pull themselves together.
In our verse, it’s yet another form of being tired. It’s weary of doing good. It’s tired of serving others and helping out others. This is such a wonderful and noble job, one might think that those folks never get tired. But they do. Both here and in Galatians, the direction is towards those who are doing good. Why might a person get tired of doing good? The upside is so wonderful and beneficial.
First, servants get tired when they feel like so few are helping out. There is that 80-20 effect in organizations. 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. That’s generally true. What are the rest doing? Who knows. And, after a while it’s expressed as, “Why do we always have to take the food?” “Why do I always have to teach the class?” “Why can’t anyone else do anything?” The voice of weariness is beginning to surface. So many people and so few doing much has always burdened those that serve.
Second, there are times when servants would like to be served. It’d be great, one says, if someone brought me some food once in a while. But it doesn’t happen. Most just don’t think that way. And, the weary servant starts to feel neglected, jealous and wishing someone would notice what he is doing.
Third, there are times when it seems the good done is not noticed or appreciated. A few spend all day Saturday cleaning the church building. It looks amazing. No one says a word. They wonder if anyone even noticed. Hours are poured into helping a young, struggling family get things turned around in their lives. That young couple steps it up spiritually. No one, not even the young couple that was helped, offers any gratitude or appreciation for what was done. Long phone calls calming a member down. Hours of answering questions. So few even know about these things. This is common for most shepherds. They do not get paid for this. Their time is just as important as yours. They keep us moving. They keep us together. And, someone gets upset and angry with them because things are not the way this one person wants it. The elder wonders late at night, ‘why do I do this?’
Paul’s words are, ’do not grow weary.’ That’s easy to say. How can one not be weary when there is so much to be done? If I don’t do it, who will? So, the weary soldier of Christ trudges on. The weariness of the soul can make him grumpy and even discouraged. Do not get weary. Great Paul. How do we avoid this? What’s the solution?
Here are some thoughts:
First, find others to labor with you. You don’t have to be the martyr who does it all. Ask others to help. Many will, if asked. Some don’t have the eyes to see what there is to be done, but when asked they will gladly do their part. Working with others helps keep you fresh. It brings in other ideas and ways to do things. It kills the loneliness and isolation that you have felt before. This is why the church is overseen by an “eldership,” not just a lone elder. A group of godly men to encourage each other and to share the load. Others can make a difference.
Second, keep the Lord in the picture. The good you are doing is for the Lord. These are the Lord’s people. This is the Lord’s place. It’s not yours, but His. Keep that in mind. That helps.
Third, recognize others who are serving. Even if no one recognizes what you are doing, you can help lift the load of another by complimenting and praising the efforts of others. Encouragement is fresh air to the weary soul. If you can’t be the one to help out, you can be the one on the sidelines who supports and cheers on those who do serve. Not all can be shepherds, but we can certainly support, encourage and defend our shepherds. Not all can teach, but we can certainly make the teacher feel that his efforts were appreciated.
Fourth, take an emotional break and vacation from the work. Take time to sharpen your axe, so you can work harder and better. Find ways to let your mind rest. Refocus. Come back in fresh and strong and ready to do more good. You don’t have to go anywhere for a mental vacation. Just find ways to relax, reconnect and jump back in with more energy and freshness. It’s the tired preacher that becomes boring. It’s the tired teacher that finds shortcuts rather than doing his homework. Shepherds need to recognize when the servants are tired. They need to pull some off the bench and let the weary take a break. In many religious organizations, leaders take sabbaticals to keep fresh. They are sent to conferences to learn more. They are given time off to read and develop more material. We don’t do those things much in our fellowship. We keep plowing until the old mule collapses in exhaustion or burnout. Maybe it’s time we put some thought into better ways to keep our leaders going.
Finally, our passage is about doing good. Heaven recognizes good that is done. Doing good. Helping others. Teaching. Being a friend. Encouraging. Making things better. All these take time but the upside is enormous. You are helping a soul on this journey to Heaven. You are making a difference. And, most, if not all of us, can see that there has been others in our lives that have given us a hand and helped us. Doing good. Being engaged in good deeds. Making a difference. It’s not about us. It’s not about getting recognized. It’s about helping someone.
So, weary soul, keep it up. Don’t stop until the Lord stops you. There is much to do and you can’t do it all, especially in one day. Have a plan. Get organized. Be efficient. And, do what you can.