Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

5 April 2009

When you feel like quitting... go harder

"...the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people..."
Galatians 6

It's interesting that we're warned against the weariness in doing good. As someone struggles with this... I'm reminded that my weariness is to be expected and refuted. We're not told to "make sure you get enough ME time". We're not told... "make sure you take holidays from doing good". We're not told "take care of yourself and your practical needs first and all the opportunities for doing good things will be added onto you".

Nope. It says, "Hear the spirit. Respond. Go hard. Keep going. And when you feel like quitting... go harder".

The funny thing about weeks of prayer... they leave you tired AND invigorated. And which one I live in... is up to my choice to press further or retreat into weariness.

When I think and feel in my flesh... it feels weary. When I step into the places of the divine... all I feel is glory. Pressing on through weariness leaves us at a place of broken obedience in reverent, persistent motion. And that's a useful lump of clay right there for the potter.


Paul said...

I like how the Message reads...

"...let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good..."

These verses are about relationships, not about "working" ourselves to death doing ministry, etc. I think it is important to understand that. They are in reference to times when we get tired and frustrated with people.

I'd go on explaining the context but very smart Biblical scholars have already done that, so I will quote them:

Growth in our relationships does not happen automatically; growth takes effort. Hard work is required if broken relationships are to be rebuilt. In these two verses Paul simply encourages Christians to keep on working at building their relationships: Let us not become weary in doing good (v. 9). To say that Paul's emphasis on faith means that he was against works is obviously an inaccurate interpretation. Although he warned against relying on the works of the law as the basis of blessing (3:10-14), he clearly taught that true faith expresses itself through love (5:6) and in the hard work of serving one another (5:13) and carrying each other's burdens (6:2).

One of the greatest obstacles to rebuilding broken relationships is simply fatigue. We can easily lose heart and run out of strength when we come up against the same problems over and over again as we deal with others. Even Paul sounds discouraged when he talks about his efforts to rebuild his relationship with the Galatian believers: "I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you" (4:11). Paul recognized that fatigue and discouragement might cause Christians to throw in the servant's towel and quit. So he presents two incentives to keep us from giving up when we grow weary of serving others in love. First, he assures us of a reward for doing good: at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (v. 9). Sometimes the harvest is experienced in this life. When we sow acts of love, we reap a harvest of love in return. When we give generously and sacrificially to the needs of others, we reap a harvest of gratitude as those needs are met. When we sow the seed of God's Word in needy lives, we experience the joy of response. But we must remember that reaping a harvest almost never happens on the same day as sowing the seed. We may not even see a harvest in this life from what we have sown. Nevertheless, we must never give up, because we know that at the proper time our Master will return and reward those who have been faithful servants.

Dave Carrol said...

That's is true... but that IS the "work of the ministry"... and it IS work.

Paul's in the middle of teaching about some of the bits and piece of how church/ministry should work (it even comes right after where he tells people to share with/pay their teachers). This is his work as it is many people's.

In fact people who spend even more of their time doing the work of the ministry (which relationships are a great amount) fall into this category to even a greater extend as I've seen it.

To many, their pressing on to good things means wading their way through relational kife to get things done and resolved... and to me this says press towards your goal even if relationships get funky. It's all part of the package so don't get discouraged because it's tough.

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