David LeBlanc, Fatherhood Program Lead
As I sit down to write this it is mid-June, and I am in the midst of my busy season at work. To state the matter like this is a bit of an understatement. I am actually in the midst of one of my busiest seasons of life. A season that started when I became a husband and father. A season that got more complicated with starting a business and serving in ministry as much as possible. A season that is not ending anytime soon but is the greatest and most rich season of my life. God has been so kind to me and sustained me so far in all these things.
As one who has a proclivity to “burnout” for never stopping, the Lord has been teaching me a lot about how His kingdom works in this area. Often showing me a better way after I foolishly exhaust myself doing a myriad of good things, but not taking time for the best! Weariness, deep soul exhaustion is not going to be fixed by a long weekend. It will take more than that, for weariness is one of the weapons Satan uses to kick us when we are down. Yet if we learn from Jesus, who is “gentle and humble of heart” (Matt. 11:29), we will find rest for our souls.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
In the opening verse, Paul is reminding the Galatians of the need to “not grow weary.” I have often read that verse and passed over it as mere godly advice to one serving the Lord, until I grew weary! You see weariness grows! This is key in understanding Paul’s encouragement. It places the source of our weariness not merely in the external factors of serving in and standing up against the tidal wave of evil, but also on neglecting our spirit. Certainly, this can take its toll, yet I would argue from personal experience in the trenches, the weariness that weakens is the atrophy of the “inner man.” You see our opportunity to do good is not the result of evil and injurious circumstances, but because of them! In the day of adversity and evil, God’s people have tremendous opportunity to sow to the Spirit and reap a harvest.
The cause of our weariness is a growing neglect of our inner life and soul before our God!
It is very easy to look at our surroundings today and feel despair, a sense that would lead us to believe that “doing good” is not good enough. It would be wise to mention that doing good as we individually define it is not going to do much. The good we must be about is Gospel good, our Father’s business in the sphere of influence and opportunity He has placed before us. Certainly, doing good is not a generic “niceness,” but a bold and courageous witness to the truth of God’s saving work through Jesus and how this “good news” can make all things new!
Yet we grow weary…
The rest of the verse helps us in our plight, “we shall reap if we do not give up.” Great news! But how do we not “grow weary,” which leads to the temptation to give up in the first place? As mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:58, if we are going to be people that are “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” knowing that our labor is “not vain in the Lord,” we need to appropriate our victory daily and continuously in Jesus from Jesus!
To jars of clay Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18, “For this cause we do not faint; but though our outward man perishes, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For the lightness of our present affliction works out for us a far more excellent weight of glory, we not considering the things which are seen, but the things which are not eternal seen; for the things which are seen are not lasting, but the things which are not seen are everlasting.”
We must have our “inner man” renewed day by day.
Some thoughts on renewal from the position of learning from Jesus:
- We need to be daily renewed, not just weekly, monthly, or once in a while. Daily abiding is the secret to sustainable and fruitful service. We can really do nothing eternal apart from Jesus! We need to love this, embrace this, and believe this. Without this our inner man will have no power.
- We need to understand that external trials and pressures work with and for us a people of God and not against us. Everything the world, the flesh and the devil mean for evil, God is using for our good and His glory. In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him.
- We need to play the game to win, not to not lose. Many Christians are content with playing it safe and just holding on by the skin of their teeth. God has better, blood-bought assurance and victory that we are to work from. We war from victory not for it. The posture of our hearts should be to set forth rooted in Jesus anywhere and everywhere He has placed us!
In Luke 5 Jesus meets Peter for the first time on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is teaching the crowds, and Peter is coming in from a long unproductive night of fishing. Suddenly, Jesus steps into Peter’s boat and continues to teach the people. He then asks Peter, the professional fisherman, to put out into deep water and let down his nets for a catch.
Peter puts up a little fuss but puts out anyway and finds the greatest catch of his life. When he gets back on shore, he leaves everything to follow Jesus.
I have been reflecting on this in my own life. Many times, life can feel like a long unproductive night of fishing, working hard and catching nothing, until Jesus commands our cast! You see what rejoiced Peter in his spiritual infancy was the great catch, yet I think what put joy in Jesus’ heart was to see Peter launch out when he was dead tired, a little grumpy and feeling like a failure. The posture of the disciple’s heart, the attitude that brings Jesus joy, is not trying to quantify and control the fruit of our fishing but instead the continuous cultivation of a spirit, that at the command of Jesus, sets their boat out into deep waters expecting the Lord to perform a miracle!!