Growing Weary in Well Doing
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give
Or, to put it another way; how do I avoid getting to a place of such weariness that I despise my spiritual gift? Jerram Barrs taught me a very powerful lesson in answer to this silent destroyer of joy. He taught me not in a lecture, nor with a sermon, but with just one word. He said, “No.”
I pushed back.
“What do you mean, no! All we are asking is for you to come out to L’Abri for one weekend next fall and do a mini conference. We are L’Abri after all, your alma mater!!!”
Gently but very firmly he said one word, “No.”
“Why not?” I dared to impudently ask.
Jerram explained that he and Vicki knew that they were responsible to
manage the gifts God had given them, and together they had decided
that he could be gone from the family one weekend a month. No
exceptions. No amount of bullying would budge him. His weekends were
booked for the next 2 years. Get in line!
“No” can be a very selfish word rising from the depths of our
self-absorbed, self-serving hearts. To compensate for this genuine
depravity some of us wonder if “No.” is even a Christian word? Do we
ever dare say “No.”? Yet here was Jerram Barrs, a man of God, saying it
not once, but twice.
The Apostle Paul took pains to warn us not to become weary in well doing, which means the potential must exist. Jerram and his wife Vicki took Paul at his word and learned to manage
the exercise of their spiritual gifts in such a way that they did not
become a subversive altar on which their marriage and family were
always being sacrificed.
Do the Barrs live sacrificial lives? You bet they do! But responsibly
in the context of their callings which include marriage and parenting,
come with a priori limits. Hence, one weekend a month is what they
determined they could ‘give away’ or sacrifice of Jerram’s time.
Jethro brought Moses’ wife and children back to him shortly after the Exodus from Egypt. As a good father-in-law, he gave Moses sage advice on managing his
time and responsibilities, lest he become weary in well doing. "What
you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will
only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot
handle it alone.” Exodus 18:13-26 Moses listened and agreed to the
strict limitations Jethro proposed. He obviously did not suffer from a
Even as we respect our finiteness (we are limited beings by virtue of
being creatures) and get our priorities straight, we will still grow
weary in well doing. That too was anticipated by the Lord. “But those
who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings
like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not
be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 “I can do everything through him who gives
me strength.” Philippians 4:12-14 “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself
and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal
encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you
in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
You have no idea how often I say to the Lord: “I can’t do it. Not in my
strength. Please help me. I’m so weary.” And the Lord supplies the very
strength needed for the moment.
This is how we fulfill the summation of Romans: offering our bodies as
living sacrifices. Here is my body broken for you, but not in my
strength! So, two things: take responsibility for the exercise of your
gifts and talents, and look to God to strengthen you hour by hour, day
by day, as opportunities present themselves.
Mary Jane Grooms