The old adage, "Work as if you’re working for Jesus” can feel a little empty when the chips are down. It’s painful to consistently work hard—especially when things don’t seem to be going your way. It’s equally hard to be charitable when we no longer feel charitable toward ourselves. Paul the apostle has some encouragement for us.
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6–18. Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 3:13:
“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good” (ESV).
Paul has just finished explaining to the church at Thessalonica that they should stick clear of people who demand charity but refuse to work (2 Thessalonians 3:6–10). He has also explained the problems that emerge when people are idle (2 Thessalonians 3:11–12). Now, he tells the Christians at Thessalonica to not grow weary in their efforts to do good. The NIV renders this phrase, “Never tire of doing what is good.” The NRSV reads, “do not be weary in doing what is right.”
But it is tiring, isn’t it? From first-hand experience, as someone who has dedicated his life to the mission of Christ, I can tell you that “doing good” is exhausting. There are days that I’m absolutely spent. This is especially true when I consider all the unresolved tensions in my life. I say this as a word of caution: weariness is part of life, no matter what you’re doing. But there’s a solution.
But Paul does not seem to grow weary in doing good. Reason: He regularly takes a step back and acknowledges the joy of Christ. We see glimpses of this when he speaks of his thankfulness (2 Thessalonians 1:3). We also see it in phrases like, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NRSV).
Paul knew that true strength did not reside in his own resolve or endurance. Strength is in Christ. It is Jesus who helps us to not grow weary in doing good. It is Jesus who makes us feel charitable when our personal strength runs out. It is Jesus who encourage us to love self-sacrificially when we feel that we have nothing left to give. It is Jesus who carries the cross and can carry us.
Do you currently feel weary about doing good—is it difficult for you? How can you allow God step into the gaps, helping to strengthen you to go forward? Drop me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
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