As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how common burnout is, especially in our Christian faith.
Well-meaning believers who love God and want to serve Him can quickly find themselves physically tired, emotionally depleted, and spiritually resentful.
“Why do I have to go to _____?” we wonder as we drive to _____ [insert church activity]. “_____ and _____ aren’t going to be there. I wish that I could take a week off. I’m not going to get anything out of it. I could use my time so much better.”
Honestly, this is the attitude that I often have when I’m faced with an opportunity to encourage, serve, or support my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
I complain. I compare. I make it about me and how I feel and why I shouldn’t have to do it. But I’m writing this to encourage you on the days you don’t feel like doing the right thing.
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What We’re Called to Be
If you, too, sometimes feel tired of doing the right thing, I’m guessing that you can relate to at least one of the bullet points below. Do you ever get tired of:
- Sitting through 45-minute sermons, 60-minute Sunday school classes, or 90-minute small group gatherings?
- Watching sticky three-year-olds in the toddler room or crying babies in the nursery?
- Setting up for church meals that require three hours of prep time but typically only last for an hour?
- Teaching a Bible Study to a room full of middle school girls who stare at their phones throughout the entire lesson?
- Showing up early every Sunday morning to greet the same 25 people you greeted last Sunday?
I understand the weariness that comes from being a Christan.
In our fallen nature, we would rather just say, “I don’t feel like doing this, so I’m not going to do it.”
I’ve given into that inclination countless times, but to be honest, it’s not an inclination that aligns with how God called his sons and daughters to live. It’s rooted in selfishness, rather than self-sacrifice.
Hope for Weary Hearts
“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 ESV, emphasis mine).
I’m sure that Paul had seen many believers become weary of doing good and, as a result, cause others to become weary of doing good. But the Christian life shouldn’t be about what other people, including other Christians, are doing or not doing.
No matter what your brothers or sisters in Christ are doing, do the right thing, and don’t give up on doing the right thing.