This is an interesting little verse. The one thing it makes clear is how deeply the Bible understands the basics of human nature—a certain degree of stamina is required to stay focused on doing what’s right. You’d think that wouldn’t be the case. When it comes to “doing good” we expect that a natural never-exhausting flow of energy should come from us.
Evidently, that’s not the case! In fact, I’ve discovered most the time it’s just the opposite. It seems that with loathsome mischief behaviors comes this never-ending fountain of vigor. In high school there were always certain kids (generally boys) who excelled at pranks and rebel rousing. If something of a mischievous nature happened, you’d find the source of the problem by contacting one or two miscreants.
And rarely ever do these troublemakers confess, “I’m tired of pulling pranks—I want to quit—I want to be good person!” Thankfully, the occasional makeover does happen. A delinquent’s conversion occurs and society, loving a good transformation story, offers all the accolades and hurrahs meant for a prince. But in the shadows, eclipsed by the sunshine of the convert, is the soul that has spent a whole lifetime doing the good. Life isn’t fair! And at such a sight the individual persistently working hard at the good becomes disillusioned.
If you’re that person, this verse is for you! Paul writes, “Let us not grow weary in doing good.” In fact, I think this verse possibly just may be for everyone who’s grown exhausted by the activity of doing what’s right.
Weariness is lacking strength, energy, or freshness. In Galatians 6, verse 9 the word “weary” in the Greek language means to be spiritless, exhausted, lose heart, and to despair.¹ That’s the danger Paul is warning about—losing your drive to “do good” and giving up! The Kenneth Wuest Translation captures this thought in Galatians 6, verse 9 as it reads:
Let us not slacken our exertions by reason of the weariness that comes with prolonged effort in habitually doing that which is good.
Dullness sets in from the blunting edge of weariness. Service for God loses value and the loss of hope results in discouragement leading to giving up.
To combat weariness let’s read the end of verse 9 from The Amplified Bible:
…for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.
That little statement gives us a way to combat weariness. If the idea of weariness is losing our motivation for “doing good,” then we’ve got to discover a tangible motivation in the opposite direction! We read, “In due time and at the appointed season we shall reap.”
The Bible scholar John Stott once wrote of this verse:
Some incentive is certainly needed in Christian well-doing. Paul recognizes this, for he urges his readers not to ‘grow weary’ or ‘lose heart’. Active Christian service is tiring, exacting work. We are tempted to become discouraged, to slack off, even to give up. So the apostle gives us this incentive: he tells us that doing good is like sowing seed. If we persevere in sowing, then ‘in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart’.²
Persevere in doing good knowing that eventually a profitable crop comes from sowing! This is the tangible motivation for overcoming weariness. Are you weary? According to Paul refocusing our values from immediate gratification to the end results will renew spiritual life!
J. Robert Hanson
¹ 1573 enkakeo | ekkakeo Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
² (Stott, J. R. W. The message of Galatians: Only one way. Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, Ill., U.S.A.: Inter-Varsity Press or The Bible Speaks Today NT)