Do what is good

Posted by: Amanda Bridle | Monday, April 22nd, 2024 (10:56am)

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. 
Galatians 6:9 NLT  

“I’m tired.” 

It’s a standard response to the friendly inquiry “How are you?” posed by friends and acquaintances. As believers, we know we have work created just for us. Yet I don’t believe the same God who created the Sabbath intended for us to walk through our days perpetually exhausted. So, what are we to do with Paul’s exhortation in the book of Galatians to “not get tired of doing what is good?” 

Who is Paul anyway? 

Before we dig in, here is a little back story on who Paul is and what we know about the book of Galatians. Paul functioned like a missionary in the years following Jesus’ death and resurrection. He traveled primarily to places where non-Jewish folks lived and told them about Jesus – who he is and why he came and how his own life was changed by his encounter with Jesus. Paul spread the gospel and helped start churches. The churches would write letters asking questions and presenting their challenges to Paul. Paul’s written responses to those early churches have become books in the Bible. The verse we’re talking about today is from Paul’s letter to the believers in Galatia (also known as the book of Galatians). 

Reasons why we get tired 

I think we first must take a step back and understand why we get tired in the first place. My experience has taught me that tiredness has its root in both things we do and the things we don’t do (rest!). The kind of tiredness and frustration that comes from not seeing the results we are hoping for can come from a lack of trust in God’s providence. 

Reason 1: We do things we are not called to do 

There is no end to the options we have for how we spend our time. Every person we care about and every relationship we are in requires our time and energy. Every community we belong to – church, school, neighborhood, workplace – likely depends at least somewhat on volunteer power. And don’t get me started on the entertainment options we have at our fingertips. The music, movies, books, podcasts, shows, and social media sites available to us could literally fill our waking hours (and even some of the hours we should be sleeping). 

Many of us, myself included, find ourselves in seasons of burnout and resentment when we overcommit. Many of us naturally want to be helpful and often feel flattered to be asked to be a part of something and so we say “yes” by default. But for every “yes” there’s a matching “no” lurking in the shadows. Have you said “no” to your quiet time with Jesus? Have you inadvertently said “no” to taking care of your physical and mental health? Do all your “yes” decisions leave you without a true Sabbath each week? 

A better way to decide 

God does have work for us to do:  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). He does want us to use the gifts and talents He gave us. But He most definitely does not want us to say “yes” to every opportunity that crosses our path. So how do we take care to choose the things we are truly called to do? 

Decision-making tips: 

  1. Slow down the decision-making process. 
    Next time someone asks you to do something, thank them and say you need time to pray about it. Or simply say “I’ll get back to you.” This is an especially important step if your default is to get swept along in the other person’s enthusiasm and immediately say “yes.” 

  1. Stay in the Word and stay in prayer. 
    Making your spiritual habits a priority makes everything in your life better. When it comes to discerning if an opportunity is a “yes” you absolutely want to be working off the foundation of being in regular conversation with the Holy Spirit through prayer. The more you check in with God through prayer the more clearly you can understand how God is using you. He puts us in places and with specific people for His purposes. The closer you stay to Jesus the more clearly you can discern what He's calling you to do. 

  1. Seek wise counsel. 
    Whenever you need to make a decision, pray first. Second, ask mature Christians in your life for their prayers and their advice. Be open to hearing the concerns of family members and friends who know you best or might be affected by your new commitment.  

Reason 2: We are not observing the Sabbath 

I was well into my adult life, career, marriage, and parenthood before I gave a serious thought to observing Sabbath. The fuller my life has become, the more important Sabbath is to me.  

[Side note: Want to read my all-time favorite book on Sabbath? Of course you do! It’s called Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy Worldby Shelly Miller.]  

Sabbath is simply the practice of holding sacred a regular day for rest, ideally a full 24 hours. Traditionally, for Christians it has been observed on Sunday but I believe any day that suits your particular schedule is acceptable. The important thing is that you get Sabbath rest every week and that you create a day that is truly restful (tackling the chore list probably doesn’t count). The kind of rest you most need to feel refreshed is going to depend on your personal situation. Someone whose profession requires manual labor all week is not going to find yard work restful. The opposite might be true of someone who spends their work life in an office. I also find taking a strategic break from the Internet or any entertainment choices that threaten to become addictions is also a beneficial Sabbath choice.  

If observing Sabbath is new to you, start small and build up to a full 24 hours. Don’t get stuck on any “rules” you may have learned growing up but consider what joyful habits you can adapt to make the day one of true rest and refreshment.  

The best reason to observe Sabbath? It’s an act of worship. By setting aside our work for a day we are telling God “I trust you with my life. I trust I will have enough time to do the work you have for me.” 

Reason 3: We are impatient for results 

The last reason why I think we get tired of doing what is good is that we get impatient for the fruit of our efforts. I know I am guilty of this myself. There’s a reason that “patience” is one of the fruits of the Spirit! When we put in a lot of hard work and dedicate ourselves to a task or role, we do so with the expectation that something good will come of it. Recognition and a genuine thank you would also be really nice too! 

Sometimes, however, our good work doesn’t seem to be noticed. Or worse, our work doesn’t seem to be doing anything that we can discern. In situations like this we need to go to God in prayer and check that this is indeed work we are called to do. If we think it is, then we need to wrestle with God about trusting Him and His timing.  

We should also consider that it is possible we won’t see the harvest in our lifetime. We may be planting seeds for others to harvest in the future. I think of Abraham, who was told by God that from his child there would be a great nation. Abraham and his wife Sarah were already quite old when their miracle baby was born. They did not live to see the fruition of this promise. I think also of Moses, called to return to the land of his birth to rescue God’s people and deliver them to a promised land. Yet, his earthly life ended before the people entered that land. And I think of Isaiah, the prophetic poet, who wrote so beautifully about Jesus even though he too died before he could see the fruition of the vision God gave him. 

Encouragement for endurance 

I’ll close with Paul’s words from the book of Hebrews, reminding us we’re in this for the long haul: 

…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV 

So, friends, find your race, take care to stay connected to Jesus, rest well, and continue on with your good work.

 

 

Views expressed in this blog post represent those of the author and are not necessarily those of WCSG or Cornerstone University.

 

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