I am sure that we all have heard the statement: “I am tired.” In my 47 years of service I have met so many people who have echoed this sentiment. These are people who started off very well and were enthusiastic in their service for the Lord. They got involved in their local church and were a blessing for many people, but over the years they somehow or for some reason got bogged down and simply got tired. They tried to hide in some large church where they would not have to be involved and finally some of them gave up.
Paul saw this happening during his ministry, and it is for that reason that he is encouraging the church at Galatia not to become weary or tired and give up. In Galatians 4:15-16, he makes them aware of a change in their spiritual condition. He asks them; “What has happened to all your joy”? We know that Jesus said that He came that we might have joy and that this joy should be overflowing in our lives. These people had obviously experienced this and were serving the Lord with much joy, but then something changed. Perhaps there was an outside influence contrary to the Gospel, or some discouraging experience, where they were devastated by some other believer’s behavior. Whatever it was, it altered the course of their life so that Paul now asks; “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth”? He therefore encourages them in chapter six to not grow weary and not give up for at the proper time we will all reap a harvest which will last for all eternity. Giving up has in fact become a very real concern.
We find a very classic and real example in the life of Elijah. Elijah was a man of God who experienced things that we can only read about. He told king Ahab that it would not rain until he says it will, and the rain stopped. He was supported with food by ravens (which is humanly impossible). He prayed for the widow’s son, who was brought back to life. Yet the greatest event in Elijah’s life took place on Mount Carmel. He had king Ahab summon his 450 Baal prophets and his 400 Asherah prophets and placed them before a very important decision (1 Kings 18:22-24). The God that would answer with fire would be the God they should acknowledge and serve. All the children of Israel agreed this would be fair. After the 850 prophets called on their god all morning to no avail, Elijah prepared a sacrifice according to Mosaic law. He then called on the name of the Almighty God, who answered with fire (1 Kings 18:30-39). Should Elijah not have rejoiced and perhaps called a feast for seven days? This was miraculous! God had revealed Himself as the true God, but Elijah fled to the desert and finally lay down under a broom tree, ready to die. He simply did not want to go on living anymore. He experienced his greatest disappointment amid the greatest manifestation of God. What caused this disappointment? The people did not turn back to God. Oh, they cried out, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord. He is God” but their lives had not changed. These were the Old Testament people, who like the ones in the New Testament would call out; “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” and then five days later they would cry “Crucify Him, we don’t want this man to rule over us.” You see, life went on as usual, and that broke Elijah’s heart. After such a magnificent manifestation of the Lords’ presence, people indifferently went on as before and wavered between two opinions. This caused Elijah to retreat and simply give up. He wanted to go home to be with his Lord, for he no longer saw any purpose in living.
Elijah was physically, emotionally and spiritually tired. He tried his best and it did not yield the desired results. He was too tired to praise and worship God. Should they not have worshiped and praised God for such a great miracle? But he was tired. Too tired to seek out the 7000 who did not bow their knees to Baal. Too tired to have fellowship with them and encourage them to stay the course and remain committed to God. Too tired to pray for others. If his assessment that no one was serving God anymore was correct, should he not have prayed for these people that they would turn back to God? Too tired to seek out the lost and show them the error of their ways. Too tired to do anything for the Lord, even though the Lord still had a list of assignments for him to do. He was simply tired. He experienced a great disappointment which led to discouragement, and that led to him wanting to die.
My friend, where do you stand spiritually today? Have you possibly become tired as well? Do you still have joy in your walk with the Lord? Is there enthusiasm in your life that becomes visible to others? Or are you perhaps too tired to worship the Lord and thank Him for the greatest miracle of all times? We have been saved, not in our sins but from our sins. Forgiven and set free, because “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Have we become complacent in our praise toward our Lord? Who takes time to attend the prayer meetings to thank God corporately? People would rather stay home and view a favorite video or surf the web. The Hebrew writer’s admonition would be in order: “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees” (Hebrews 12:12). Are we too tired to seek the fellowship of the believers? Do we say with Elijah, “I am the only one serving God” and then withdraw like a turtle in its shell and isolate ourselves from everyone and everything? Are we too tired to pray for others? Those who are lost? We can see the ones who are not serving God, but do we pray for them? Or do we criticize them and join forces with their accuser? (Revelation 12:10) Are we too tired to seek out the lost and invite them to come with us to hear the Word of the Lord? We have a lost world all around us, but who is enthusiastically seeking them and inviting them? We hear the excuse, “The time for winning souls is past,” but Jesus said in the parable of the minas, “Do business till I come” (Luke 19:13). He has not returned yet and so we must do all we can to lead some lost soul to Jesus. Are we too tired to get involved in our local church? Perhaps you were actively involved and you were disappointed. Perhaps you got hurt. Don’t give up! Leave the problem with the Lord and move forward. Paul says in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
To give up is one of the easiest things to do. We simply don’t have to do anything. We just quit. But we are so much closer to the other shore than we have ever been, so let us not give up now but let us encourage one another to keep moving forward until we see Him and hear those wonderful words, ”Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:21).
Kelowna, British Columbia