It is easy to weary in doing good when people are respectful and grateful for your help and support. It is even easier to weary in doing good when people are pushy and demand your support, as though it is their right. It is easier still to grow weary in doing good when people demand you help them and then, simultaneously, complain when you do. And if there is ever a point at which Hebrew 4:15 seems at play, I believe it is times such as this.
I have no problem admitting, when Monday rolls around, I am pretty tired. Some Mondays are worse than others, but most of them begin with a fair degree of tiredness. Usually the demands of the week, particularly the concentrated and seemingly relentless demands of Sunday, have hit their zenith (or, nadir, depending on how you view it) and, depending on the particular nature of these things, I feel done in.
It’s at moments like these that the next phone call, request or apparently urgent job that must be done right now, by me and nobody else for some reason, feels like a killer. The first thought running through my mind is rarely gracious. It’s not that I don’t want to help, it’s just I don’t really want to help right now. Otherwise, I already know what the problem is before I’m told and I don’t think I can help.
Even yesterday, after a fairly long day at church – having been there since 9:45am and being the last person out, locking the church, at 3:30pm (standard practice at our place on afternoon service weeks) – I got in the car with my wife and children. The day had been full of requests for various bits of help, some taking up considerable time, all before I was due to get up and preach, while others came along between services, and yet more afterwards. I sat in the car and exhaled deeply, gearing myself up for all the follow up work and admin that I will get onto the moment I arrive home. The letters that needed writing urgently, the visits being requested, the practical help and support being asked of one form or another.
No sooner had I turned the engine on, pleased of the brief respite driving the car home, there was a tap on the car window. I wound down the window. ‘I’m very sorry,’ my friend said, ‘I’ve left my bag in the church.’ Off goes the engine, the children are told to wait a bit longer, and we head back in. Let’s be honest, in the grand scheme of things, this is about as minimal as it gets. I was still outside the church, I had a key in my pocket, it took less than a couple of minutes to unlock the doors, go in and get the stuff. But my attitude was anything but gracious.