7 “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith”.
Investing our lives not only involves sowing and serving but we must also be:
Verse 9 reminds us to not give up on good. This is a call to patiently persist, to keep planting because if we do, we will reap the reward. Today there are many who want a hand in the harvest but not in the hard work. Sometimes it takes a lot of weeping before we get to the reaping. Being steadfast is more than just sticking it out it is focusing on the fruit of the future, not the problems of the present. Our hope is not in the here and now but in the harvest to come and if we are going to succeed then we need to have a forward thinking, future focus. No orchard owner ever planted an apple tree one day and expected to bake a pie the next. Being steadfast doesn’t mean sitting on the sidelines, being a steadfast servant involves sweat. Success involves more than just sowing, we have to water and weed, fertilize and prune. Not growing weary is a call to plant and then persist, to faithfully tend the garden as we focus on the future fruit. Perseverance produces patience and patience, especially people patience is a precious and powerful virtue. We want what perseverance will produce we just don’t want the process we have to go through to get there. Why do we often fail and throw in the towel before we see the fruit, because we have bought into the lie that living for the Lord should be easy. That all we have to do is show up and we will have success, but sowing and serving require spiritual and physical stamina. There may be painful patches and hard hits on the road to the harvest and we need to do more than just hold on we need to hope on. In Galatians 4:11 Paul points out a powerful truth in dealing with people: “I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing.” We fear that our work will be a waste, but Paul provides a proper perspective here, reminding us that the focus is not on self but on those we serve. He says “I fear for you” not I fear for self, many of us make self the focus of our feelings. Our worry is not that others will not advance but that we will be taken advantage of. Worry and fear will cause us to freeze or flee, either way it will stop us from being steadfast, and when we fail to forge ahead, we forgo the blessing. Not only do we fear our work being a waste but work without results can cause us to become weary and discouraged. Often, we don’t intend to quit, we’re just going to take a short break, but somehow, we just never quite seem to get started again. This is where we need to engage in encouragement, because we all need a steady supply of encouragement. The problem is that we often feed people a diet of discouragement and then wonder why they die. The word encouragement means to provide others with courage. Now there is a big difference between flattery and encouragement, flattery is a compliment, but encouragement is coming alongside and spurring others on. It’s easy to flatter and fluff the feathers but encouragement encompasses so much more. I Thessalonians 5:11 calls us to: “encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” Encouraging one another is not just something that scripture suggests we do if we have time, but a call to take the time and come alongside. It’s easier to be a discourager than it is to be an encourager, it takes less thought and effort to tear down than to build up. We have a duty to one another to provide encouragement and that encouragement is vital. One of the greatest ways for us to help one another is through a steady show of encouragement so why don’t we do it. We live in a society that is more prone to punish that to respond with rewarding. Rather than rewarding good behavior we punish bad. Yet that is not the model of the Master, He loves and longs to reward the faithful with fruit. Sometimes it’s simply because we get too busy doing other things, we let life run us and run over us. Instead of taking charge and taking the bull by the horns we get charged. Where do you need to be steadfast today?