9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
All of us grow weary, we wake up and realize that we are tired. Tired of giving, tired of doing, tired of serving, and that the joy of service is gone. It’s what we call burnout and the bible addresses it more than once. II Thessalonians 3:13 says, “Do not grow weary in doing good.” God knows that we are prone to weariness when it comes to serving because sometimes:
- There appears to be No observable results.
We live in a result oriented society, sports has given us a score board, even when we go fishing to relax we want to produce a stringer of fish and take a picture as proof. We like to measure our success in tangible ways, but the problem with our service to the Lord is that it isn’t always easy to measure. We may labor for years without knowing the results of our work. We grow weary because we believe that non-visible results mean no results. When God commissioned the prophet Isaiah in Isa 6:9, he told Isaiah to deliver God’s message to a people who would not hear and would not see. Jeremiah was also commissioned by God to deliver his message to the people who would ridicule and ignore him. They seemed to labored for God with no positive results, nothing to measure as seeming success.
- We face criticism
No matter what the worker in the Lord’s vineyard does, there is always someone who is ready to say, “We don’t do it that way,” or “We’ve never done it that way,” or “we never do THAT!” Serving is hard work and criticism takes what is hard and makes it seem impossible. When it grows dark we turn on a light so we can see but where there is light, there are bugs. It’s that way with serving, there will always be those pesky flies buzzing about.
- We lose sight of the Harvest.
It’s easy to take our eyes off the goal and get distracted, to grow impatient waiting for the harvest. Paul spoke about reaping a harvest “at the proper time.” Why? Because sometimes the harvest doesn’t come when we expect, or when we desire. Sometimes the “harvest” takes months, years, even decades. Sometimes the harvest comes too late for us to see it, Moses died before entering the Promised Land. Sometimes the harvest just doesn’t come in this life and our reward is “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Sometimes we’re unaware of who we’ve influenced; and the fruit appears when we’re not around to see it. We must have an eternal perspective if we are to keep on sowing good seeds.
- We miss the harvest
Not only does the fruit sometimes appear at a time we don’t expect; sometimes it appears in a form we don’t expect. We’re expecting passion fruit and we got lemons. Sometimes the result of obedience is not an improvement in our circumstances, but a strengthening of our faith and a refining of our character.
Often from man’s perspective serving stinks! The bible reveals that most of God’s leaders had a rough time. What if Paul had not gone to Jerusalem and Rome, but stayed at Antioch? He could have started the Apostle Paul Seminary, wrote more books and trained more preachers. He could have lived a comfortable life, but Paul would not have been obedient to his call. As I read Philippians, written while Paul’s was in prison, I am struck by the number of times Paul mentions the word joy, eighteen I believe! We want to serve and we want to see the results of that service but we don’t want it to be difficult and we don’t want to have to wait. Yet Paul’s theology was molded in the fires of conflict and adversity as he served.
There is something to be said for those who do not give up easily, those who prevail through persistence. Joseph was a man who had a dream given to him by God that he shared with others, this lead to him being thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, put in prison, and finally a position of power in the palace. Joseph didn’t give up, he kept planting the seeds of good, serving those around him and after over 20 years the dream came true. When we come to that place of giving up we never intend to quit, we tell ourselves that we are just going to take a break for a while, but somehow we just never seem to get started up again. I know you’re tired…you’re ready to give up… you’re discouraged…it doesn’t seem like God hears you…you can’t even seem to get a prayer through… and you sure don’t see a breakthrough… but quitting is not an option. Keep on serving by sowing, God will bring the harvest.