Never Give Up
“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”- 2 Thessalonians 3:13
What we believe cannot help but shape what we do. As Romans 12:1–2 informs us, we are transformed through the renewal of our mind. The reshaping of our thoughts according to God’s Word makes it possible for us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices and to discern our Creator’s will for us.
The first-century Thessalonians provide us with a real-life example of how what we believe shapes what we do. As we have seen, many believers in first-century Thessalonica were living idle lives, refusing to work for a living even though they were able to do so (2 Thess. 3:6–12). Those who did not labor apparently did so because they believed that the end was at hand and therefore that there was no point in continuing in the patterns of normal, everyday life. It was better, in their view, to cease working and to wait for the return of Christ. Furthermore, it may be that they were influenced by the wider culture’s disdain of manual labor, for while the Greco-Roman world believed that human beings were to work, its citizens did tend to view certain kinds of work—such as Paul’s tentmaking—as beneath human dignity. Either way, the Thessalonians’ false beliefs were leading them into a state of idleness and getting involved in matters that were none of their business (v. 11). The only way to solve the problem was to change the Thessalonians’ thinking, which is why Paul spends so much time in 2:1–3:12 explaining that Jesus had not yet returned and that lawful work, including manual labor, is a good thing.
Paul provides further positive ethical teaching in today’s passage by telling us to “not grow weary in doing good” (v. 13). The command to work is directed primarily at those who are refusing to work, and the injunction to not grow weary is aimed chiefly at those who are laboring according to God’s command. Paul knows that we can get discouraged as we do what is right and see others failing to do so and yet not suffering for it. His exhortation is not that we never get physically tired—which would be impossible—but that we do not give up. We need this encouragement, for we are frail and it is all too tempting to cease our pursuit of the good, especially when the reward for doing so seems so far off. Even when we see no immediate benefit to doing the right thing or pressing on in the mundane tasks we are required to do, we are to not grow weary. God sees our work, and He will ultimately reward it.
Are you growing weary of doing the right thing, of laboring diligently without receiving a reward? If so, you should know that this experience is common. At such times, we need to remember Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 that we should never give up. God does see our faithfulness and He will not forget it. Let us find encouragement in that truth today and use it to encourage others not to grow weary in doing good.
Passages for Further Study
1 Thessalonians 5:11