Our thoughts for reflection on this first Lord’s Day in August come from a message Rev.C. Haak delivered on the Reformed Witness Hour program last month (which had also been broadcast previously).
Below is a portion of his exposition of that text. May we find it a necessary rebuke for our sluggishness and a powerful encouragement to our weary souls.
Now, when the apostle says, “Don’t be weary in well-doing,” he is not referring just to a few people, but he is referring to all the people of God. He is not referring just to giving things to the poor, but he is referring to our whole life as we are to live that life out of Jesus Christ. Does he refer to the work of elder or deacon in your church? Yes. But mothers in the home and fathers, too, as they bring up their children, as they go to work to support their family. Our church life is included. Our marriages are included. And all the deeds of thoughtfulness and kindness that we are to do in His name. Witnessing to the gospel and pursuing the evangelism call of the church. All of these things are well-doing.
Literally, we could translate this “beauty work.” Do not be weary in beauty work. That is a very powerful word of God because there we see that apart from God every doing, every act, and every deed is darkness. Apart from the beauty of God’s grace working first in our hearts, every work that is performed on the earth, the Bible says, is ugly, smelly, soiled in pride. But there is beauty. And that beauty comes from God alone. It is the beauty of His grace when He works through His people in Jesus Christ. It is that which does not then come out of self, that which is not rooted in self, but that which is of grace in us. That is beauty work. And even though now those works, too, are shot through with our own sin, yet God smiles because He sees in that work His wonderful grace. Now do not be weary in beauty work.
Further, we learn that this well-doing is synonymous with sowing to the Spirit. Look at verses 7 and 8 and see that the Word of God has set down a principle for everyone. There we read, “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” There are only two possibilities. One is either sowing, in his life, to his destruction, or he is sowing, in his life, to life eternal.
…Are you sowing greed in your life as a father? Then the Word of God says, “Don’t expect contentment but expect a constricted heart, and anxious nights, and narrow eyes.” Are you sowing gossip in your church? Do you talk about others? Then do not expect peace and love in your church or in your marriage or family. But you shall harvest division and tension. Are you, as a young man, sowing lust through pornography in your life? Then do not expect that you are ever going to be satisfied if God gives you a wife. What you sow you shall also reap.
So, well-doing, then, is to be understood as that work of the Spirit of Christ whereby we sow looking for the life that is to come, that we might have an abundant harvest then.
But you understand that that well-doing is very hard, it is very difficult, it is continuous, it is never-ending. And this is really, I believe, the point of the apostle. You do not see the fruit of this kind of work quickly. Because that is the case, we become discouraged and our souls begin to sag. You say to me, “Are you telling me that my work as a mother is beauty-work? Are you trying to mock me? Have you ever seen my house on a Monday morning? It’s upside-down. Beauty-work with my child? I yell at my child. How can that be beauty-work?” “Beauty-work in our marriage” you say to me? “Well, that’s hard work!” And maybe you say, “It’s never going to change. Our marriage is not going to change. He’s not going to change. We’re just going to have to resign ourselves to have to live with it. We give up.”
Maybe you say that in the church. You say, “I’ve tried to be active in the communion of the saints. I’ve tried to have people over to my house. There is no reciprocation. Beauty-work? I’ve been hurt in the church!” Maybe as an elder you say to me, “Pastor, you’re calling our work beauty-work, but in the church it seems that the problems are greater than anywhere else!” And maybe personally you say, “I’m weary. I can’t seem to get out of the doldrums. The spiritual resilience has departed from my life because of obstacles, because of the sins of others, because of my own sins. I’m tempted to say, ‘Well, if that’s the way they’re going to be, see if I care!’”
So often we find ourselves then settling down into the routine. The earlier days of fresh spiritual vigor are a distant dream. We become discouraged and we become tempted to withdraw from doing good—in church, in marriage, in family, in our personal life. We begin to multiply obstacles and magnify obstacles and say, “We can’t do that!” We are ready to quit. And we would, if we could find a good excuse for doing so.