Christian growth, faithfulness, and fruitfulness are areas of our Christian walk we are encouraged to cultivate, nurture and hold fast to. While we understand these things to be true, why are they lacking in many Christians today? Why is it that so many lack the spiritual vitality and vibrancy that is to be the testimony of the people of God? It seems as though the energy and vigor have long since departed from the people of God and most of what is done today in both service and personal piety are done rote. Jesus said we will have life and life more abundantly. Sometimes we just have to sit back and wonder!
The long and short of it, folks are just plain weary. This now raises the question, what does it mean to be weary and how do we combat it in our day to day lives and ministry?
First, by way of definition, Webster’s Dictionary states that weariness means to become tired or fatigued., in other words, you’ve just plain run out of gas. There are both physical and mental forms of fatigue and both need to be taken into consideration if we are to understand weariness in our own lives. Mental fatigue, in particular, can certainly affect you physically. It can become a vicious cycle if left unchecked.
The main text for last Sunday night’s message was 2 Thessalonians 3:13 which states, But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. The sister verse for this is found in Galatians 6:9 and the thought is repeated in various forms throughout scripture. In fact, the word weary is found forty-two times in the Bible. In context here Paul first (starting in verse six) addresses some issues, problem people, that the church at Thessalonica was dealing with. Issues that if allowed to will cause people to become weary. For example, in describing some of the personalities in the church Paul states that laziness, gossip, busybodies those walking disorderly, those working not at all, etc. were part of this assembly and warns the church about them.
These are the undercurrents, factions, divisions, discord, and disorderly brethren that seem to show up in most if not all church environments. It seems more often than not much too much time is taken up in putting out fires that were started as a result of one or more of these types of people, time which takes away from more meaningful ministry-related areas. Of course, this adds yet more weight to those who are struggling to balance out everything else going on their personal lives and ministry causing yet more fatigue and eventually rob them of not only their joy in the Lord but joy in serving him as well. We have to think biblically or more Christologically in how we approach ministry and people if we expect to keep our heads about us and stay joyful in the Lord.
Herein lies part of the answer in Paul’s exhortation. In verse thirteen, Pauls says, But ye. In other words, as opposed to THEM, as opposed to the busybodies, the disorderly, the lazy, trouble makers, gossips, those “working not at all” and other undercurrents in the ministry and life YOU be not weary in well doing.
So the first line of defense against becoming weary in your Christian walk is YOU. A lot of time and energy can be expended in dealing with the types of people Paul mentions here while the work of the Lord is left undone and spiritual fatigue creeps in. And while I understand there is a time for church discipline, we must understand that these and other disruptions caused by folks who should know better, will hamper the great work expected of the people of God. Way too much time can be spent on what others should and shouldn’t be doing and not enough on those areas that concern our spiritual health and ministry.
The Bible warns us about being consumed one with another and many a good churches have fallen and closed their doors because folks lost sight of the church’s primary mission, preach and teach the word of God in such a way as to build up and edify the saints for the work of the ministry and exalt the Lord Jesus Christ giving praise honor and glory to God.
Paul mentions well doing, so what is well doing? While not exhaustive, here are some considerations:
- Preaching and teaching, gospel work
- Helping the poor, visiting the sick, helping the widows
- Church work, landscaping, maintenance, etc.
- Praise and Prayer – Giving God the glory for all that he’s done and all that he is
- Essentially everything we do should be considered well doing when we do EVERYTHING as heartily as unto the Lord.
To combat weariness there needs to be a daily routine of spiritual exercise. I like to call them spiritual disciplines. If you are not diligent in the spiritual disciplines God has provided then, spiritually speaking, you will atrophy, in other words, grow weaker, grow weary and run out of gas. Prayer, time in the word, fellowship with the Lord and with the people of God, engaging in Gospel ministry are, among others, necessary disciplines if you are to keep your spiritual tank full and fight against becoming weary.
I would say lastly set your eyes upon the Lord. Keep your heart and mind fixed on Christ. Think of all that he endured on our behalf, think of his grace and mercy and the promises of God through Christ. It is here that find hope and with that hope comes joy. Ours is a worthy calling. Living for Christ while not without its challenges is far greater than the empty joy and false hopes the world offers.
Spurgeon has this to say:
Behold the recompense of reward: the crown, the palm. If others tire and faint, be not ye weary. If others meanly loaf upon their fellows, be it yours rather to give than to receive. If others break the peace of the church, be it yours to maintain it by diligent service, and so to enjoy the blessing of verse 16.
I’ll end with a quote from 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. “
On account of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, we have victory and may this victory embolden us to carry on for the Lord while there still life in us. It’s a worthy work the rewards are seen in the temporal and eternal realm, let’s make good use of our time by not engaging in or with folks who are determined to drain us dry and bring us down.
As they say in Latin – curae – take care!