But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.—2 Thessalonians 3:13
The context of this verse is Paul’s admonition to the Thessalonian church to deal with a group of troublemakers who had abandoned everyday faithfulness for a path that seemed both easier and more exciting. For whatever reason, these troublemakers were refusing to work, refusing to give themselves to the daily grind of earning a living. Yet Paul knew that the obvious troublemakers were not the only ones to find everyday faithfulness a struggle. It is a challenge that is faced by every believer. Though the particular symptoms are different in each of our lives, all of us face the temptation to abandon faithfulness in the everyday tasks of life for something that seems more exciting or less difficult.
God doesn’t want you to go out and do some great thing for the world—He has already done, through His Son Jesus Christ, the only “great thing” that the world needed, the one “great thing” that has already defeated all the forces of evil forever. Our struggles are not the result of His inability to work without us but of His promise to conform us to the image of His Son. He is the Lord of the harvest and He will bring the increase. All He demands of us is faithfulness in hum-drum every day and often unremarkable lives that He has called us to live.
In almost every area of your life going to be tempted to exchange the unglamorous work of everyday faithfulness for something that seems to be more exciting or less difficult. Perhaps you may not even stop doing what you are supposed to be doing—you still take care of your kids, you still go to work, you still do your ministry, you still do your devotions and all the rest, but they nonetheless start to seem pointless and you start to look longingly in almost any other direction other than the step in front of you.
You need to remember that, in the long run, it is faithfulness, not novelty, that leads to fruitfulness. It is the 10,000 tiny strokes of the master’s chisel that produces a beautiful statue; it will be the 100,000 steps of daily obedience that conform you to the Master’s own likeness. As Eugene Peterson put it, what being a disciple of Jesus really boils down to, “a long obedience in the same direction.”
In the end, it is faithfulness in well doing, even when that well doing is boring, repetitive, difficult, or downright discouraging, that leads to fruitfulness. Even as Paul was commending the faithful at Thessaloniki by contrasting them to the ones that were causing all the problems, he took the time to remind and encourage them never to weary of everyday faithfulness. It is an encouragement that all of us need and that all of us will always need. We must never forget that long term fruitfulness is always the result of everyday faithfulness.
Note: the above is adapted from the conclusion to a message I preached on June 12 entitled, “Everyday Faithfulness” To listen to the message, please click here.