Ever get tired and want to quit? I certainly have. And, there are certain times in life when we should quit. When we discern what we are doing is not in accordance with God’s plan, we should quit. If we are headed in the wrong direction, we should quit traveling that way. When our “passion has dried up,” as Hans Finzel puts it, “it’s time to go.”
Just tired while doing well? This is not a reason to quit. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9 KJV).
In 1945, Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and be the pioneer to finally break the integration barrier for baseball. Subjected to threats, taunts and humiliation, Jackie could have turned back, but few would have remembered him. For Jackie Robinson and for us, the margin between success and failure is often measured by our perseverance.
These are truly days that try our souls. As I talk to religious leaders, they highlight the increasing opportunities to serve compared with the limited financial resources at their disposal. Believers continue to be committed to supporting local churches and other worthy ministries, yet the impact of the national economy, including high unemployment and low investment returns, is being felt by Christ-centered organizations.
Few are the religious organizations that have not cut staff, reduced benefits, and eliminated programs. These are challenging days with no short-term relief in sight.
Yes, there is a danger of becoming weary in doing well.
John Piper observes, “Almost every one of you can think of something you were enthusiastic about recently, but now the joy is faded. Your first day of vacation on the coast the sunset was breathtaking and made you so happy you could sing. But by the end of your stay you hardly noticed it anymore. Vacationers get tired of sunsets, millionaires get tired of money, kids gets tired of toys, and Christians get tired of doing good.”
But this is no time to even consider losing heart. The Apostle Paul is saying there will be a payday someday. And the charge to keep on keeping on is motivated by the prospect of future reward. As John Wesley put it: “Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” In short, don’t lose heart in spending yourself in love.
The prophet Isaiah said it well: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:31).
Paul recognizes the direct correlation between persistence and motivation as he urges his readers not to “grow weary” or “lose heart.” John Stott observes that “active Christian service is tiring, exacting work.” So the apostle gives us this incentive: He tells us that doing good is like sowing seed. If we persevere in sowing, then “in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” If the farmer tires of sowing and leaves half his field unsown, he will reap only half a crop. It is the same with good deeds. If we want a harvest, then we must finish the sowing and be patient, like the farmer who “waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it …” (James 5:7).
When will we reap? The harvest will occur in due time, at the appointed season, the proper season, the due season, the proper time in God’s time. The fruit is reaped in the season that follows the sowing, but it is ultimately the time of God’s appointment.
The good news? The law of sowing and reaping will never be repealed.
As Hitler was mounting his attack against England during World War II, Winston Churchill was asked to speak to a group of discouraged Londoners. He uttered an eight-word encouragement: “Never give up! Never, never, never give up!”
When it comes to someone who never gave up, the Apostle Paul is our hero. In Acts 20 he said, nothing moves me. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and get it all done and finish the work Jesus gave me. And nothing stopped him.
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul says, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry as we have received mercy, we faint not.” Never get tired, he says. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted but not forsaken. Cast down, but not destroyed.” Yes, Paul, is our hero when it comes to doing well in spite of fatigue.
There will be times when we will become discouraged in our Christian service, but we must never, never, never quit doing well.