In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul makes a passing remark that reads kind of like an “oh by the way” as you’re heading out the door comment. His oh by the way: “never tire from doing good.” No big deal, right?
The truth is doing good can be ever so tiring. Doing good means putting others needs before our own. It means following the Holy Spirit’s tug on our heart to do something we otherwise might not want to do. Often times it can mean doing the unpopular thing, standing out like an outcast in a sea of people who seemingly grew tired of doing good a long time ago if they ever considered it in the first place.
The season we are currently in, a season that should be about reflection, waiting and anticipation but so easily gets reduced to a laundry list of things to do, parties to attend and presents to buy is known as a season of giving. It’s called this because we exchange gifts and make a lot of year-end donations to nonprofit organizations this time of year.
Giving gifts and giving money to support kingdom-minded ministries that spread the gospel are good things, but I don’t think Paul had this in mind when he encouraged early Christians, many who faced persecution we couldn’t even imagine, not to tire. If not for my checkbook limitations, I would probably never tire of giving gifts or supporting ministries and missionaries.
But the good things that interrupt me, ask a lot of my time or require me to change course with how I’m living my life don’t come so easy. These are the areas where apathy is constantly at work tamping down my zeal for doing the good things that God requires of me.
I recently had the chance to see the music duo Jenny and Tyler perform at a local coffeeshop and they closed with “Faint Not,” a song they consider their anti-apathy anthem. The chorus of the song, which we all sang along with, goes “Oh my soul faint not, no faint not, Oh my soul keep up, in love.” It’s a catchy way of saying what Paul is saying here in scripture. Do not give up. Do not grow faint. Do not tire.
Matt Ralph is a former camper, volunteer staff member and editor of this blog.