“Let us not grow weary of doing good.” – Galatians 6:9

In 1983, John Piper preached a sermon on Galatians 6:9 with this opening statement. “Probably the worst enemy of enthusiasm is time.”

No matter how strong we start, time has a way of eroding our zeal. No matter how good the effort is initially, time’s strain wears us out. No matter how righteous the thing is, we grow weary of it. The worst enemy of enthusiasm is time.

Many of us feel that acutely these days. The age of coronavirus has beat relentlessly against us. Hundreds of thousands have perished. Stores have closed. Schools have swung their doors open only to slam them shut the next week. Churches, trying to serve the many, broadcast online to the few while hosting the rest in socially distanced venues. Or they broadcasts online to the many while the few make Sunday feel like the first year of a church plant. Whatever our good is that we’re doing, we’re getting weary.

A wise pastor used to say anything good done in this world is done by tired people. Nothing worthy moves forward on momentum alone. It takes sustained effort over a long period of time. In the words of Eugene Peterson, it takes a long obedience in the same direction. Time may take the wind out of our enthusiasm, but we must find new ways to raise the sails again.

How can we do that?

Paul gives an answer in Galatians 6:9 in the form of an imperative. “Let us not grow weary of doing good.”

Paul knew what it was to grow weary. After all, it was he who said, “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?” (2 Corinthians 11:24-29)

If anyone knew what it meant to grow weary of doing good, it was the Apostle Paul. So how can he say flatly, “Let us not grow weary of doing good”? What kept him going? What did he see that we need to see?

He tells us in the second part of the verse. “For in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Of course, we must be sure the thing we’re doing is truly good. We must be certain that our work is God’s work. If we are in it for our selfish purposes, may it die a thousand deaths. If we are in it for glory or control or a million other less-than-holy reasons, may time suck it all away.

But in the doing of good for God, the only way we fail is by giving up. The only way the harvest doesn’t come is if we pack it in. The only way time wins is if we never regain our enthusiasm. We will reap, if we do not give up.

Everyone has a counter-argument to the endurance doing good requires. You probably have it in your mind right now. You are the exception. You are the outlier. You are the one in all of human history for whom God will not come through.

But God is not letting up on us because he’s not giving up on us. His call is not to take it easy when it gets hard but to press in all the more, especially when it’s hard. The Lord loves us deeply, but he doesn’t coddle us, and he won’t let us coddle ourselves either. He knows the cancer that time is to our zeal, but he has fresh mercies every morning.

So whatever good you are doing right now, and whatever good you are tempted to quit doing right now, don’t. Don’t give up. Do not weary of doing good. The harvest is coming. Just don’t give up.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at Things of the Sort

Enter to Win the Puritan Paperbacks This July!

Charles Spurgeon once said, “By all means read the Puritans, they are worth more than all the modern stuff put together.”

The Puritans offer their readers a comprehensive, gospel-centered view of the Christian life where all of Christ matters for all of life. In recent years, Banner of Truth has published a 49-volume set called the Puritan Paperbacks where Christians today can glean from the Puritans of the past.

During the month of July, we’re giving away the entire 49-volume Puritan Paperback series for free to one providentially favored participant who enters. Enter today for your chance to win!