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“Let Us Not Become Weary”
Galatians 6:9-10


Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost—July 7, 2013

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

You are invited to follow the sermon outline on the last two pages of the bulletin.  In today’s Epistle Reading, the Apostle Paul urges us: “Let us not become WEARY in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

“Let us not become weary,” says the Apostle.  But, friends, let’s be honest and admit that is EXACTLY how most of us feel a lot of the time: WEARY.  Weary of our jobs; weary of our responsibilities; weary of problems that don’t seem to go away or get better; weary of struggles within our families and marriages; weary of mowing the lawn and washing the clothes and fixing supper and changing diapers and doing the dishes and paying the bills; maybe even weary of coming to church and serving in the church; weary of life.  We often feel like the old saying, “Stop the merry-go-round, I want to get off.”

“Let us not become weary in doing good.”  The root cause of our weariness goes back to the beginning.  It is recorded on the first pages of the Bible: “The Lord said to Adam, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.’”

We are wearied by life in this world simply because we don’t live in paradise anymore.  Our Lord intended life in this world to always be a joy and pleasure, but humanity spoiled his perfect creation by our sinful rebellion.  And ever since, life in this world hasn’t been what God intended it to be.  As a WEARY Solomon wrote 3000 years ago, “Meaningless! Meaningless! . . .  Everything is meaningless. . .  All things are WEARISOME; more than one can express.”  And the Psalm writer sighed, “My soul is WEARY with sorrow.”

The root cause of our weariness is our sin, and Jesus tells us the root solution: “Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Jesus takes away all your sin by his sacrifice upon the cross, and Jesus comforts and strengthens you in your weariness.  St. Augustine put it this way: “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”  That is the root solution to our weariness.

We have seen that WEARINESS with life in this world is nothing new.  Solomon and the psalm writer complained about it 3000 years ago.  But, why is it that we are so ESPECIALLY weary today?  Has life gotten harder for us than for previous generations?  The statistics actually tell us that we’ve got it better and easier than anyone else in the history of the world.  Maybe you didn’t realize, but you’ve supposedly got more leisure time than you know what to do with!  That’s what the experts say.  But, if that’s true, why are we so WEARY of life today?

The number one reason we are so weary TODAY is that we have forgotten the concept of vocation.  Not VAcation, but VOcation.  “Vocation” is a word we don’t use much anymore, and that says a lot right there.  “Vocation” literally means, “to be called.”  It’s the idea that each one of us has not just a job, not just duties and responsibilities, such as in our family, but we all have sacred, divine CALLINGS from God in our lives.  Martin Luther put it this way: “The maid sweeping down the stairs is doing a HOLY WORK just as much as the preacher in the pulpit.”

The concept of VOCATION means that you do what you do in this world because GOD himself desires and calls you to do it.  Because the Lord needs MORE than just preachers in this world.  He also needs mothers and fathers, to bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord; farmers and others to bring in and prepare the harvest so that we may be fed; craftsmen of all sorts to provide us with structures so that we may be sheltered and the many machines that serve us; and the list goes on and on, educators, engineers, civil servants, scientists, health care providers, etc., etc., including your occupation. 

The concept of VOCATION means that ALL honest work is truly HOLY work.  You may not think that your work is important, but just ask yourself: What would our world, our quality of life, be like if there was no one to do my job?  You REALLY are serving GOD by serving your fellow man.  Paul puts it this way in Colossians, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

For the Christian, that SHOULD be the motive for our labors, the concept of VOCATION, a belief that your work, whatever it may be, is a divine, holy calling from the Lord.  The concept of vocation is a POSITIVE motivation for doing what you do.  But, we have largely forgotten the concept of vocation, and today our main motive for working is a NEGATIVE, expressed by the bumper sticker: “I Owe, I Owe, So Off to Work I Go.”  That attitude toward worldly work will turn it into a wearisome drudgery.  But, the attitude of Christian VOCATION, that you are really serving GOD by serving your fellow man, gives your worldly work higher purpose and a greater joy.

And it’s not just your JOB to which you have been called by God.  If you are married, you have been called by God to the sacred VOCATION of being a husband or wife.  In fact, if you are married, THAT is your number one calling from the Lord in this world.  Second to that is being a parent, if God has placed you in that role.  So next time you’re mowing the lawn or washing the clothes or fixing supper or changing diapers or doing the dishes or paying the bills, or, the example Luther gives, sweeping the stairs, remember that you are really doing not mundane drudgery but the Lord’s holy will, the Lord’s holy work.

“Let us not become weary in doing good.”  The number one reason we are so weary today is that we have forgotten the concept of vocation.  Another reason for our weariness is that our priorities are all messed up.  Jesus put it this way, “What will it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his own soul? . . .  A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  But, our EXACT OPPOSITE attitude is expressed in another bumper sticker: “The One Who Dies with the Most Toys Wins.” 

Solomon says, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.”  “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” Jesus says, “and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Paul puts it this way in 1st Timothy, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

“Let us not become weary in doing good.”  We are so weary today because we have forgotten the concept of vocation, and because our priorities are all messed up.  And another reason for our weariness is that we don’t see the RESULTS we want and expect from our work.  We struggle faithfully year after year, but what have we got to show for it?  Things seem to stay the same or get worse.  You just washed clothes, and the hamper’s full again.  Your business is just barely breaking even.  You brought your child to church every Sunday, but now he’s fallen away.  You’re sticking with your spouse despite your problems, but it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

But, listen to what Paul says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the PROPER TIME we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Paul knows from personal experience how frustrating it can be not to see the results you want and expect from your faithful labors.  He worked so hard among the Galatian Christians he is writing to, and now they are falling away from the truth he proclaimed.  But, he understands and takes comfort from the perspective that in this life we are often called by the Lord only to plant seeds, not to harvest.  As he says in 1st Corinthians, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God gave the increase.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

Sometimes you are blessed to see the results in this life.  One example is a parent who STRUGGLES rearing a child, but when grown that child tells the parent, “Now I understand and appreciate what you did.”  Sometimes you are blessed like that to see the results of your labors in this life.  But, most of the time, you will not see the whole picture of your life’s work in this world until the next life in the world to come.  As Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.” 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the PROPER TIME we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Keep on planting those seeds for the Lord!

Paul says in Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In your weariness, first turn to Jesus for comfort and strength.  And also take comfort and strength from looking upon your life’s labors as a VOCATION, a holy calling from the Lord; by putting your priorities in order; and by taking the perspective that in this life we are often called by the Lord only to plant seeds, not to harvest. 

The Lord says in Isaiah, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary.”

Amen.

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