If I am honest with you, the past couple of weeks haven’t been the easiest weeks in my life. I was forced to deal with a bunch of feelings and emotions that I was not expecting. I shared some of this with a friend this past week and was caught a little off guard with the question he asked, “Marty, if it’s so hard, why did you choose to handle the arrangements?” And when I told him I was doing it because it was the “right thing to do,” I have to admit that I was surprised with his response: “Sometimes it is just tiring to do the right thing. Doing good can wear you out.”
As I thought about our conversation, I was reminded of something Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians, “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?
Actually, there is a name for this feeling, this tiredness. It is called “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.”