I have a confession to make; sometimes I get tired of doing good. I used to wonder if I was the only one who felt this way. But then I ran across something Paul wrote to the Galatian church: Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9 CEB). These words lead me to believe the followers of Jesus in Paul’s day must have faced times when they felt like giving up or when they simply grew tired of doing good. Paul does not go into detail but I get the sense that there were those in the Church that had lost heart and were ready to give up, to give in and quit. Have you ever felt like this?
A few years ago I read what one tired comedian wrote:
“Are You Tired? The population of this country is 220 million; 84 million are over 60 years of age, which leaves 136 million to do the work. People under 20 years of age total 95 million, which leaves 41 million to do the work. There are 22 million who are employed by the government, which leaves 19 million to do the work. Four million are in the armed forces, which leaves 15 million to do the work. Deduct 14,800,000 — the number in state and city offices, leaving 200,000 to do the work. There are 188,000 in hospitals, insane asylums, etc. — that leaves 12,000 people 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!”
I like to call this ailment “compassion fatigue” or “well doer’s burnout”. It happened in Paul’s day and it happens to many of us today. When I get this way, I spend some time alone with God, then I walk through the church and am reminded that I am not having to do everything myself.
Maybe the first step in following Wesley’s 2nd General Rule, Do Good, is to remember we are part of a community who is made up of ordinary flawed people simply trying to Do Good. Maybe we need to remember that we are not alone. Maybe we need to hear Paul’s words one more time:
Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up.