There seems to be a lot of things that we can worry about these days, including economic uncertainty, societal ills, poverty, the increasing Godlessness of our culture, injustice, climate change, terrorism, governmental overreach, etc. Disappointment with the increasing loss of Christianity’s voice in the public square can lead us to adopt an attitude of discouragement, separation and even isolation. We know our hope is in Jesus Christ and understand that ultimately all will be set right. So, today’s cultural climate makes it tempting for Christians to turn our focus inward to protect and sustain ourselves from the evil forces within the world (circle the wagons) until things get better. Paul, speaking out of a cultural context much worse than our current situation, addresses this tendency:
Galatians 6:9-10 “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Let’s take a closer look at what the Lord says through Paul here. First we need to understand the context. This statement is the concluding thought of a passage on financially supporting pastor-teachers in the church. I teach the immutable spiritual law of “reaping what you sow” to my 5th and 6th grade Sunday school students as the “farming law.” Paul makes it clear here that this truth extends to your dollar investments as well (Gal 6:6-8). Then we come to his admonition to “do good.” This concept expands beyond just the teachers of the previous verses to include “all people.”
The fact that doing good does not come naturally, is not easy, and actually requires hard work and discipline, is implicit in that fact that Paul finds that this encouragement needs to be stated! We CAN lose heart, we CAN grow weary, and we CAN squander opportunity – sometimes quite easily! Certainly the current cultural trends test us in all of these areas. But doing good is one of the most visible and effective ways that we illustrate Christ’s love for all.
So, rather than circling the wagons and being discouraged by what is happening in the world, we have been called to have an impact on our world, person to person. All “good” (service in ministry) is ultimately done by individuals, not organizations. And in due time, His time, the harvest will come in – to His glory. Patience, perseverance, and diligence are virtues that are needed to prevent “losing heart”.
I challenge you to seize the opportunity the Lord has given you today by practicing these spiritual disciplines in the doing of good. By the way, according to Paul, doing good applies “especially to those of the household of faith.” That tells us to how to treat each other (being good to family members can be especially tough right?). The farming law tells us that we will see a harvest, and it will be good!