Bob Tamasy: The Antidote For Becoming Weary In Well-Doing

  • Thursday, February 29, 2024
  • Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Centuries ago, someone talked about becoming “weary in well-doing.” Have you ever felt that way? Doing good is, well, good to do. But it can be exhausting. Especially when positive results seem slow in coming.

More than 40 years ago I befriended a man who had given up a very successful professional career to begin working with the poor in a major American city. His work started with children, but he soon realized to be most effective he had to become involved with their families as well. What this man experienced was both gratifying and frustrating. There are no easy, quick fixes for individuals and families who have struggled with perpetual poverty.

My friend never talked about it much, but I’m sure he had many moments in which he felt weary in well-doing.

Missionaries experience much the same thing. Sensing a calling from God to literally move out of their comfort zone, leaving homes, friends and communities to go to foreign lands with unfamiliar cultures, strange languages and different belief systems. They go to tell people about the Good News of Jesus Christ but often find very few interested in listening to what they have to say.

I think of biblical prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah who heard God saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” and responded with words like, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). Reading their books in the Old Testament, we discover they had little to show for their years of faithful service. Perhaps in their lowest moments of feeling weary in well-doing they were tempted to amend their original commitment to “Here am I. Send someone else!”

We don’t have to look far to find needs screaming to be met. There are the poor; the homeless; the disabled; the illiterate; the unemployed and unemployable; the mentally challenged; the physically and emotionally abused; the addicted; men, women and children at all societal levels overwhelmed by hopelessness. Just reading this litany of needs is tiring as we wonder how we could help. What difference could we possibly make?

Living in our complex, fast-paced 21st century society it would seem easy to conclude the weariness many of us experience on a consistent, even daily basis is unique to our time. But it’s not. About 2,000 years ago, writing to members of the early church in Galatia, the apostle Paul offered these words of encouragement: “Let us not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

Well, we might argue, that was easy for Paul to say. After all, wasn’t he one of the Bible’s superheroes? I hardly think it was easy for him to say, considering during his tumultuous ministry he dealt with hunger and deprivation, persecution, stoning, shipwrecks, imprisonments and other seemingly insurmountable challenges. Surely, even though he cautioned against it, Paul had his weary-in-well-doing moments.

So, how did he handle those times? Paul always kept His focus on Jesus Christ and never forgot his total dependence on Him. This was why he wrote, “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Encouraging believers in ancient Philippi, Paul declared, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

He also wrote, perhaps to our astonishment, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Delighting in weakness?

What noble intentions, what determination, right? But my favorite devotional writer, Oswald Chambers, explained what kept the apostle going wasn’t just what he intended to do and why, but also for whom he was doing it. Chambers observed,

“As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person until he did come to know Him. But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord. If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.”

Indeed, the unending needs of humanity can quickly leave us defeated and broken-hearted. So, the next time you find yourself in a state of weariness from doing good, stop and concentrate on Jesus. He’s our motivation, our strength, and the only one whose opinion ultimately matters.

* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.

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