Thursday, June 2, 2016

Weary from Well-Doing?

As some wise person – or maybe just a wise guy – has observed, the only problem with everyday life is that it’s so daily.

We go through each day, carrying out responsibilities, performing work, handling chores, and working through problems – then we go to bed, get some rest (hopefully), wake up the next morning and start all over again.

Coping with the monotonous present
is sometimes easier with the end in sight.
Even when it’s a newborn baby, a puppy, a new job, being newlyweds, or attaining a different stage in life, the newness eventually fades and sameness replaces it. We find ourselves mired in the mundane.

Other than doing a little gardening in years past, I can’t relate to what life must be for farmers, but they must understand the drudgery of day after day after day as much as anyone. They can’t just till the soil and sow the seed, then bring in the crop the next day. Instead they must work their land, doing all they can to nurture the crop and hope nature cooperates. The same applies to tending livestock. Cows can’t feed themselves – or milk themselves. Chickens won’t gather their own eggs. Sheep need to be shorn regularly, and so on.

So how do we get through the inevitability of every day, with only blips of excitement to punctuate the relentless routine of being a mom or a dad, a worker or an executive, a student, or even an athlete or a performer?

If all we concentrate on is the here-and-now, at times it can be extremely difficult. The “meantime” can seem quite mean when there’s no end in sight. But that’s the key – we need to focus on our goals, the desired end result, not the minutiae we must deal with at the moment.

The same holds true spiritually. Sometimes it seems like we’re taking forever to experience the spiritual growth we desire. Maybe God is finding it necessary to teach us the same hard lessons over and over. Or we pray without seeing any apparent answers. Maybe we’re concerned about a family member or friend, asking the Lord to intervene in their lives, but no progress is evident.

Whatever the case may be, efforts at well-doing can make us downright weary. So again, what are we to do?

We find answers in the Scriptures, which recognize the realities of life, that it’s hard, challenging, frustrating and perplexing. Again and again, we’re told to persevere, trusting an acceptable outcome will come eventually. For instance, we’re admonished, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

A similar verse offers encouragement for those times when we’re engaged in work we hope will count for eternity, even though we’ve seen no evidence of positive results. “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

The ultimate example is Jesus Himself, who from a human perspective had more than enough reason to give up His mission. Yet we’re told we should be, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

What are you facing today? Washing clothes and cleaning the house? Pulling weeds? Coping with a disagreeable boss, or preparing dull, uninspiring quarterly reports? Struggling to achieve healing and restoration in a difficult relationship? Engaging in your regular exercise routine in an attempt to stay healthy? Whatever it is, take your cue from the Scriptures. Remind yourself you will indeed “reap a harvest” if you don’t give up. Keep looking for the end.

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