Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
The Church (or churches) of Galatia was planted by Paul (along with Barnabas) during his first missionary journey, and Paul visited them again during his second trip (along with Silas). It was in his letter to the Galatians that Paul was most active in the defence of his apostleship and his defence of the gospel of Christ. Galatia faced a number of Judaizing teachers, who preach for Gentiles to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses, and in order to gain credibility, they spoke against the credibility of Paul as an apostle, and his way of the Christian life. As Paul finishes his defence, he calls out for the Galatians to be steadfast in their faith, and speaks of the responsibility that each Christian bears – the responsibility to be generous and to do what is good. Verses 7-9 especially highlight a few principles of sowing and reaping. In this study, we will examine verse 9, where Paul highlights that sowing and reaping are definitely directly related – it’s just that there is a timeframe to it that we often overlook.
Let us not become weary in doing good – this is not the only time in his letters that Paul emphasized this – in his second letter to the Church of Thessalonica, Paul urges, And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right [2 Thes 3:13|Article]. This instruction immediately assumes that it is exhausting to do what is good. It is difficult to do good, and it is difficult to keep doing good. If doing good is easy, and comes at no cost, this wouldn’t have been a problem at all. I would like to think that majority of the people, if given a choice, would rather do what is morally right than not if it is easy and if there is no price to pay. But it is precisely because it is hard, and laborious, that doing good becomes such a valuable thing. Often, you won’t get praised for doing what is good. Often, you will sacrifice your time, money, effort and be ridiculed for doing what is good. Often, you are even chided for being a busybody when you try to do good.
But even so, Paul challenges us not to be weary in doing good. Why?
at the proper time – verses 7 and 8 makes sowing and reaping seem like they have a simple and direct relationship. What you sow, you reap. If you sow to please the flesh, you will reap destruction from the flesh. If you sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit you will reap eternity [Gal 6:7-8|Article]. Sounds direct and straight forward, but it is misleading to forget about the waiting period. When a farmer sows, it takes months, at least, before he gets to reap the fruits of his labour. In these months, he toils away day by day and night by night, in order to ensure that his harvest is accounted for. However, when a farmer sows, he knows when he will get to reap. When we sow, we do not know when we will reap. There is a proper time, as Paul assures us, but this is God’s divine timing, and we do not know when it is.
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up – Paul is not fooling us – he is not trying to dupe us by pretending that it is easy to do good. No, he never once said it was easy, but instead of coaxing us along, he is telling us what we will eventually get, if we wait for God’s proper time, and do not give up. Imagine if a farmer toils for 2 months, but cannot stand the heat, cannot stand the aching back, cannot stand the overtime work he has to do, and he gives up on the seeds that he had sown. There will be no harvest. He would have wasted the seeds. Likewise, it is easy to give up doing good. It is easy to run away from God’s instructions, like Jonah did. It is certainly easier to escape than to face it. But lets think of the harvest. Think of the harvest, that we will certainly reap.
How then can we not give up? It is certainly easy for Paul to say, but anybody who has been through a tough patch will know how difficult it is to persevere. Paul himself is our role model when it comes to his persistence in doing what is good. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, as he boasts about his sufferings, he also revealed the amount of spiritual discipline and mental fortitude he had when he never gave up in his ministry: I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. [2 Cor 11:23-28]
There had been times when it was hard for Paul, too. But when everybody had deserted him, the Lord sustained him – But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom [2 Tim 4:17-18]. After all, we have been promised, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest [Matthew 11:28|Article].
Paul did not tell us to do the amount of good he did. We may never go through what Paul did. But in our own ways, in our own ministries, in our own communities, let us do what is good in the eyes of the Lord. And when we try to do good, let us not be weary, but do with a heart of joy and thanksgiving.