"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 (NKJV)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week 38: "Do Not Grow Weary"

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." ~ Galatians 6:9

"The worst enemy of enthusiasm is time." ~ John Piper

It is so easy to grow weary. So hard to endure. Last week, millions of people made New Year's resolutions, and this week millions are breaking them.

My sons are already growing weary of the toys that they received just two weeks ago at Christmas.

People grow weary in their relationships. In the United States, fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. For second marriages, sixty-seven percent will end in divorce.

How about your job? Maybe you started years ago with enthusiasm, and now you feel bored or burnt out.

My point is that human beings quickly and easily grow weary of wonderful things that they were once excited about. Christian ministry is no exception.

My wife and I started leading small group almost three years ago. For me, at first, the excitement of leading group was strong. As I studied the Bible in preparation for group night, led discussions and prayed for our group members, I felt joyful and strong in the Holy Spirit. And, in that first year, there were few challenges as the group flourished, grew and sent out a new group. Now, I've begun to grow weary. The second and third years of leadership have brought struggles---emotional, relational, and spiritual. In the midst of those struggles, some of the joy has gone away. I still love my small group. I love every one of our group members more than ever. But, sometimes preparing for group night, calling group members, or leading our Bible discussion feels like a chore.

Does God want us to abandon what He has called us to when things become difficult? The answer is clearly, NO! Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not grow weary in well-doing." His church depends on people that keep serving obediently year after year in spite of obstacles. Here are the questions that I've been asking God the last couple weeks: "How do I keep going? How do I not grow weary? Where does endurance come from?"

God's answer loud and clear has been this . . . HOPE! In Galatians 6:9, the command to not grow weary comes with the encouragement to have hope in the promise that if we do not give up then we shall have a harvest. Endurance is the fruit of hope. Paul told the Thessalonians: "We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. 1:3.

How do we get hold of hope in Jesus and keep hold of it? Romans 15:4 says, "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by the endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope." What this means is that God's word is our source of hope and endurance. One thing I've repeatedly been impressed by during this project is that believing God's promises given in the Bible is essential to a life of obedience. And, just as faith in God's promises is the antidote to worry and fear, I've realized that hope in God's promises is the antidote to weariness.

In the Book of Lamentations, we see a beautiful picture of how hope in God's compassion, mercy and faithfulness gave the prophet Jeremiah endurance to carry on even as he saw his beloved Jerusalem conquered by invaders and the temple destroyed. Reading Jeremiah's prayer fills me with hope.

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall,
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope;
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

Lamentations 3:19-26


  1. This is very encouraging to me. Thanks for pointing out the hope at the root of our endurance! This is not a "get over it and quit it!" command, but there is a source for help and hope (I think Eric said something like this on Sunday in reguards to Jesus' teaching of the Sermon on the Mt. Obviously, it stuck with me).

    I'll be praying against weariness for you. Press on and press in!

  2. Well said, Nathan. I understand the struggle and appreciate the encouraging words...
    New year, new reminders of timeless truths; thank you for pointing it out.

  3. thanks, nathan--i read this today, and i really needed to hear that.