9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:9-10 NIV)
I have lost count of the number of people I have known, who at one time, were involved in helping others in one way or another. They volunteered in some organization that works with ex-offenders, handed out food at a food pantry, worked with inner-city kids, or spent time with addicts who were trying to stay clean and sober. The time and energy they gave did not bring them the fulfillment and affirmation they thought it would so they stepped away. They didn’t feel appreciated. They were taken advantage of on more than one occasion. They were disappointed that those they tried to help didn’t get “better.”
Helping carry the burden of someone who is broken can be draining. Maybe this is why Paul says, “Let us not become weary in doing good…” We do become weary, tired, discouraged, and oftentimes overwhelmed when we reach out to try to help someone else. How then can we experience these things and not become weary to the point of giving up? That is a critical question. There have been plenty of times that I have felt like throwing in the towel and finding something else to do. I have gained great insight and encouragement to stay put and do what God has called me to do from Hebrews 6:10.
10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10 NIV)
I am called to help those who are hurting. I am called to help carry the burdens of others. If my sole aim in helping them is for them to get better, then I can prepare to be worn out, overwhelmed with discouragement, and eventually burn out. On the other hand, if I will keep Hebrews 6:10 before me and remember that ultimately my service to others is first and foremost my service to God, then disappointment and discouragement will never lead to my walking away. The writer of Hebrews says that by loving others I am ultimately loving Him.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will enable me to see You in the faces of those that I reach out to help. Help me to remember that my service to them is really my love for You in action.