Have you ever noticed that every superhero movie or TV show includes a moment when the villain nearly defeats the hero? It usually turns out that the villain has been playing the long game. While the hero has been going about his or her usual routine, the villain has been planning, acquiring resources, and mustering support. The villain has anticipated every move, including possible failure and has backup plans, escape plans, and even comeback plans. The villain’s in it for the long haul.
When it comes to being the light of Christ in the world, Christians must also learn to play the long game. We cannot weary of doing what is right. But that’s hard. We may weary of giving to the poor when we see the same faces begging for handouts everyday. We have difficulty forgiving the friend who makes the same mistakes over and over.
It is hard not to grow weary of working to eliminate injustice when our efforts seem to produce hostility with no meaningful change. It is even hard not to grow weary of gathering in community each week to worship God when we have so many other obligations pulling on our time. We weary of doing what is right when it grows uncomfortable, when it does not result in immediate reward, when it goes against the grain of society, or when it requires sacrifice.
In this letter to the members of the church in Galatia who may have realized that Jesus’ return might not occur in their lifetime, Paul reminds us that we cannot grow weary. We must learn to play the long game because the enemies of God certainly are.
Come, Lord Jesus. Fill us with your loving power so that we do not grow weary of working to establish your kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven. Amen.