“Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. For you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all (Galatians 6:7-10, NRSV).
In the last church where I served as pastor, a mother told me this story. Sometimes in our worship services we would sing a praise song, “I Exalt Thee, O Lord.” This mother said she overheard her 5-year-old daughter singing the song, but the little girl sang the words: “I’m exhausted, O Lord.”
Do you ever feel the tinges of burnout? You might have reached the point where you feel exhausted, overloaded, carrying too many responsibilities and too many burdens, and you are saying to yourself, “I’m tired of the whole thing.”
Before you walk away from your problems, your marriage, your job, your schooling or your responsibilities, please take a moment to read again the Bible verses at the beginning of this post. Apparently some people to whom these words were originally addressed were ready to throw in the towel and quit. As Galatians 6:9 says, they had become “weary of doing good.”
The advice given to them provides incentive for us not to give up and quit. This advice is expressed through the farming images of planting and reaping.
Keep on planting good seeds.
Allow me to express verse 7 in a positive way: “If you will sow good seed, you will reap a harvest.” Not every day of your marriage will be a picnic, but most days your marriage will be satisfying, so keep sowing the seeds for a healthy marriage. No one has the perfect job, and every job has some bad parts. But, at times, work can actually be fulfilling. So work hard and be a value-added employee.
Make your personal character a priority.
The Bible verses for this post speak about sowing to the flesh, and sowing to the Spirit (Holy Spirit). Here’s the idea. You can sow seeds of mean thoughts, immorality, materialism, irresponsibility, bad choices or wasted time (sowing to the flesh). On the other hand, you have the option of sowing seeds that connect you with God and keep you aligned with His will (sowing to the Holy Spirit). Wouldn’t you agree that many of the circumstances that get us down, and that cause us to feel weary, are merely the consequences of our having made a flawed character choice?
Expect something good when you know you are following God’s will and living by His standards.
Our Bible verses remind us that if we plant seeds that please God we will reap joy and an abundant life. The reason is that if we sow seeds of God-inspired living, and God-led decisions, God will work in our lives in absolutely amazing ways. But if you quit too soon, you might miss what God is about to do in your life.
Push through your quitting points.
Our Bible verses make this promise to us: “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time if we do not give up.” Pastor Bill Hybels says that life is full of quitting points, when you have to find the resolve to push through for one more day. Have you discovered that it’s almost easier to quit than it is to endure? Sometimes we sow good seeds but we don’t see immediate results from our efforts. That’s discouraging, and makes you want to give up. Push through your quitting points with boatloads of perseverance.
Stay aware of the danger of the middle period.
Our verses, with their caution about not becoming weary in well-doing, picture what happens to most people. At the beginning of a task or project or seed-sowing effort you feel excited, motivated, energized. And then, as time passes, the thrill and excitement have worn off and you start to realize how hard the task or project will be. Difficulties come. Obstacles arise. You feel tired. It’s what Martin Lloyd Jones called “the middle period.” If you are there today I urge you to stay focused, endure and draw strength from Jesus.
I suppose we could summarize our Bible verses this way: Even when it’s hard, do good, anyway. Some blessings God can give you only after you have endured a long time of doing the right thing in spite of not seeing quick results. Stay faithful to your responsibilities. Don’t give up.