As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13
My kids occasionally mock me for how I spend my down time. I tend to recharge by doing things: hiking, biking, and exercising. I do like my naps, but I don’t sit still very well and when I get home from work, my idea of relaxing often isn’t the same as their idea of relaxing. So, they mock sometimes.
I probably deserve it. I have energy to do the things I want, like exercise, but then I’m too tired for chores. I’ll go to the gym every day, but when it comes to mowing the lawn, I just don’t have the drive. Even though exercise expends far more energy, it’s work that I enjoy, so I’m recharged by it. Even trivial tasks though, wipe me out if I’m not interested.
In today’s passage, Paul told his audience, not just to do good works, but to be energized by them. As followers of Christ, we’re to daily be of service to others. We’re not made to simply live for ourselves, but rather, we’re made to love and serve those around us. We’re also to do it in such a way that we’re not exhausted by it, but rather, recharged by it.
For many of us, this is a foreign concept. We go about our day, living for ourselves and our family. Yes, we believe in God, but we couldn’t really point to anything good that we do for anyone. Maybe we want to, but we’re so busy that we just don’t have time or energy. We can’t imagine where we’d find even one hour a week to be of service.
While wallowing in my addiction, I do remember attempting to be of some service to others and it exhausted me. I was drowning in a life of following myself and anything good I did was just an attempt to outweigh my self-destructive behavior. If I did enough good, I hoped that I could balance out the bad. It was draining.
Now, in recovery, I find that I’m recharged by service – when I do it the right way. Yesterday morning, I led a recovery meeting in jail. I must rearrange my Monday mornings, waking up early to get there. It does require some labor on my part. It was an energizing experience though. As I shared my life and hope with with others, I found myself filled with energy and joy in return.
The Christian life is meant to be one of doing good for those around us. When we use what God has given us to serve others, we can find joy, peace, and energy, even in our labor.