Week of Monday, March 13 – Sunday, March 17
Weary of the Work – Man as Provider

“You said, ‘Woe is me! For the Lord has added sorrow to my pain. I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.” - Jeremiah 45:3 ESV

Have you ever been tired? I mean bone tired. Many times in the military, I found myself physically spent. But there are other kinds of “tired.” Maybe the weariness was more than just physical exhaustion. Maybe, you were weary down to your soul.

That’s where we find Baruch, who served as the scribe for Jeremiah the prophet. He was so weary of the work that he wanted to resign. The setting of this story takes us back about 20 years to the reign of Jehoiakim to probably just after the events in chapter 36, when Baruch was assigned by Jeremiah to go up to the Temple and read God’s declarations to the nobility, the leaders of Jerusalem and the people.

Now, most of us would think that was a big deal. It would be similar to being assigned by God to read His declaration to the President in the White House or to the Justices at the Supreme Court. It was a prestigious assignment. But Baruch apparently didn’t expect the reaction he received, which was rejection. Not only did he encounter rejection, but he also had to run for his life and go into hiding. The king wanted Baruch and Jeremiah executed because of these prophecies of judgment.

Sometimes when we try to do God’s will, when we faithfully share God’s message, people don’t like it. Rejection for being God’s servant should not surprise us. Jesus said in John 15:20: “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” But all the rejection apparently got to Baruch. So, here’s Baruch in hiding and he is whining about his circumstances, he’s disillusioned about serving God. He has not only become weary in the work, but he’s also become weary of the work. He wanted to quit.

I see God telling Baruch three things in this chapter. First, God told Baruch in v 3: “I hear you. I know exactly what you are thinking, feeling, and saying.” And that is both comforting and convicting at the same time, right? He knows everything about us: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Second, He basically tells Baruch in v 4: “While I understand how you feel right now, my sovereign plans and purpose is much more important so you need to stop your pity party and get in alignment with my plans.” Third, God asked Baruch in v 5: “And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the Lord. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.” 

Again, Baruch probably thought this assignment was going to be a position of honor and prestige, first serving as Jeremiah’s scribe, and then promoted to be Jeremiah’s spokesperson there at the Temple. Baruch apparently let that go to his head. And that’s a danger for all of us. That’s the crack in the door for pride to slip in and get a foothold. But God’s perspective brings us back down to earth. He basically tells Baruch: “Don’t be looking to make the headlines or gather a big following. Be satisfied that when the dust settles from all the disaster I am declaring on Judah, you will still be alive. Be thankful for that.”

Remember when the 70 disciples were sent out by Jesus and experienced success in Luke 10? They came back all excited about it: “'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!' But Jesus replied: 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven'” (Luke 10:17-20). It’s almost as if the Lord was saying: “Don’t get too caught up in this newfound power you are wielding, after all I gave it to you, so don’t let it go to your head. Don’t give the devil a foothold by being prideful. Just rejoice in the fact that you are saved by the grace of God and your name is written in heaven.”

As Providers, part of our charge is to provide an example to follow. This is especially true in our service to the Lord. If you aren’t in a place of service in the church, find one. Survey the needs, see what matches up best, and volunteer. But if you are already in a place of service, maybe like Baruch, you have gotten weary of the work. Maybe you are even considering quitting because of the way you have been treated. Some of the meanest people can be found in the church. Believe me, I get your frustration. So does God. He knows what you’re thinking and feeling - remember that. But also know that God’s sovereign plans and purposes trump our pity party in the midst of serving Him—Receive that. Finally, God’s perspective should preclude any pride in serving Him because our names are written in heaven—Rejoice in that.

With that perspective, provide an example of faithful, and even joyful, service to the Lord to your family and your guy friends. Remember: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).

 - Are you serving the Lord in the context of a local church?  If you quit serving, what sidelined you?  How does that final truth from Colossians 3:23-24 motivate you to get back into the saddle of service?
 - What kind of example are you providing your family and your friends when it comes to serving the Lord? Specifically, how do you handle criticism, rejection, even hostility? Is your response just to quit? Or is it to press on?
 - Ask the Lord to help you provide a faithful and even joyful example of serving the Lord.