Summary: This lesson explores the reasons Christians grow weary in well doing and offers suggestions on overcoming that weariness.
Do Not Grow Weary
Susie called a friend and asked how she was feeling. “Terrible,” came the reply. “My head’s splitting and my back and legs are killing me. The house is a mess, and the kids are driving me crazy.” Susie, full of compassion, said, “Listen, go and lie down, I’ll come over right away and cook lunch for you, clean up the house, and take care of the children while you get some rest. By the way, how is Sam?”
“Sam? I have no husband named Sam.”
“My heavens,” Susie exclaimed, “I must have dialed the wrong number.”
“Are you still coming over?”
All of us grow weary from time to time in our day to day living as parents, grand parents, husbands, wives, employees and employers. In the social work world it is known as “burnout.” It happens with a very dedicated, committed person suddenly wakes up and realizes he is tired. Tired of giving, tired of doing, tired of serving. He finds that the joy of service is gone. What is true in the secular world is also true in the spiritual world. The writers of the New Testament all realized that from time to time, those faithful workers for the Lord become weary. This issue is addressed in a number of Scriptures.
Gal. 6:9, “Let us not grow weary of doing good.”
II Thess. 3:13, “Do not grow weary in doing good.”
I. Why do those in the Lord’s work grow weary?
A. No observable results.
We are in a result oriented society. When you play golf and make a good score, you save the score card. When you fish, you produce a stringer of fish and take a picture as proof.
ILLUS: And if you are like my great uncle Sam, when you hunt deer, you save the antlers. Uncle Sam (not the guy with the white beard and striped coat), and his family lived out in the woods not too far from a little town named Pie Town, New Mexico. They lived off the land as much as possible and when they needed meat, they would kill a deer. They saved the deer antlers in a big pile in the back yard. They believed that if they saved the antlers, they would have good luck in future hunts.
In many activities in the secular world, we can measure our success in tangible ways. However, service to the Lord isn’t always easy to measure. We may labor for years without knowing the results of our work. And we grow weary thinking 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. Likewise, Jeremiah was commissioned by God to deliver his message to the people but the only results Jeremiah ever received was his own ridicule and torture, leading him to despair even of his life. Isaiah and Jeremiah both labored for God with absolutely no positive results from a worldly point of view. Imagine how weary they must have become as they continued to labor for the Lord with no observable results.
B. The lethargy of others can cause the faithful to become weary and discouraged.
In most congregations 90 percent of the work is done by 10 percent of the people. The other 10 percent of the work is done by the remaining 90 percent of the people. Is it any doubt that the 10 percent become discouraged and weary as they see the lethargy of the 90 percent? We must feel like this person who was talking to a co-worker.
ILLUS: Are you tired? The population of this country is 280 million; 124 million are over the age of 65, leaving 156 million to do the work. There are 104 million people under the age of 25, leaving 52 million to do the work. There are 30 million people who work for the federal government which leaves 22 million to do the work. Four million are in the armed forces which leaves 18 million to do the work. Deduct 17,800,000 who work in state, county and city offices, leaving 200,000 to do the work. There are 188,000 in hospitals and institutions of various kinds, leaving 12,000 to do the work. Now it may interest you to know that there are 11,998 people in jail, so that leaves just two people to carry the load and that’s you and me brother, and I’m getting tired of doing everything myself.
C. Those who face criticism can become weary.
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 before,” or “Oh no, we never do THAT!” A gospel preacher had preached a sermon on personal evangelism and after the sermon he was approached by a member of the congregation. Brother . . . I don’t like the way you do personal evangelism. The preacher replied, “Well, just how do you do personal evangelism?” The member admitted, “Oh I don’t do personal evangelism.” To that, the preacher stated, “Well, I like the way I do personal evangelism better than the way you don’t.”