Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 132 Born to Bless – Part 2

Galatians 6:7-10

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: 

  • STEADFAST

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 feeding 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. 


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 131 Born to Bless – Part 1

Galatians 6:7-10

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”.

In Galatians 6:9 God reveals the secret to a successful and blessed life, don’t be selfish with your service but seek opportunities to lavish God’s love on others. The world tells us that getting ahead involves investing in self not service, that happiness comes through having not helping. But the Word reminds us that if we want a harvest we need to hand out not hold onto. Investing our lives starts not with saving but with:    

  • SOWING

If you want to partake in the blessings you have to plant. There will never be a harvest if you hoard the seed, so scripture calls us to sow the seeds not leave them in a bag in the barn. This is more than just a call to plant seeds, if we want to be successful we need to be planting specific seeds. In the previous chapter Paul pointed out the difference between a lust based life and one of love as he listing out 15 different kinds of foul sinful behaviors and 9 fruitful ones. So let me ask you what seeds are you sowing? If we want to experience success then we need to stop sowing sinful seeds and start sowing the seeds of the Spirit. You can’t sow to the flesh and reap fulfilling fruit. Today there are many who are mocking God, they want to sow seeds of destruction and demand that God bless them or at least bail them out. But you can’t fool or force the Father into blessing you, blessing is not based on your wants but on His Will. I wonder what our world would be like if we sowed seeds of kindness in keeping with the fruit of the Spirit? In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus sums up the scriptures in two statements, love God with all of your life and love others like you love yourself. So what would happen if we submitted to God’s formula for success and sowed seeds of life? What would happen in our homes and the hearts of our neighbors, in our workplaces and world? How would life be different if we would participate in planting and make it a point to brighten somebody else’s day? We need the ministry mindset of who can I serve by sowing, who can I bless? You see we were born again to be a blessing, saved to serve. Opportunities are everywhere if we would be willing to just seek them out and sow. Do you paying attention and looking for opportunities to plant or are you letting opportunities to sow slip by? Are you a proactive planter or a procrastinating planter? If sowing leads to success then why don’t we do this more often? Selfishness, in my life the greatest enemy to sowing has not been Satan but self. If we want to be successful then we need to live our lives like the Savior and:

  • SERVE 

Selfishness short circuit’s success because it causes us to stop sowing the seeds of life. Paul calls us to have a family focus and find our joy in giving not getting. We should have a genuine concern for the community of believers, the body of Christ. One of the saddest things about the church today is the focus on self instead of serving. As the emphasis has shifted from the Savior to self so has our focus of service. Today most Christians are concerned with how a church service will serve them, what they will get out of it. If it doesn’t fit their needs or provide or serve them then they stop going. Today most Christians go to get, rather than showing up to serve they show up to soak. What about you are you looking to serve or looking for a show? One of the foundational truths that the Lord wants us to learn when we become Christians is that we were saved to serve. One of the greatest strengths of the early church was their commitment to come together and serve one another. They were committed to community and meeting one another’s needs. Serving is not easy it takes energy and sometimes serving requires sacrifice. The early church cared for each other sacrificially, they were willing to sell and share whatever they had in order to serve each other. Serving may mean that we have to give up our wants and go out of our way. Sometimes it means putting other people’s needs ahead of our own plans. Caring enough to come alongside others may require you to clear your calendar. It might mean sacrificing your time, talents and treasures. Sometimes service requires more than just a sacrifice of money but a total mindset, sometimes we have to get self out of the way long enough to make room for the servant. Many of us desire to see a spectacular harvest but instead of sowing sacrificially we sow sparingly. Rarely is caring convenient, instead it often costs and calls to us when we are tired and drained, maybe even discouraged and don’t feel much like serving. Much of the Masters serving came at great personal cost, and serving isn’t always pretty. Serving may get us into situations that are far from comfortable or convenient. Jesus didn’t paint a pretty picture of serving when He got down on his hands and knees and washed the disciple’s dirty feet. He didn’t just say that He came to serve, He showed it. Ministering involves adopting the Masters mindset, sometimes serving requires more than just stopping to help but stooping and humbling our heart. Sometimes before we can lend a helping hand we have to humbling our heart. Jesus didn’t see Himself as superior to others He saw Himself as a servant. What about you are you willing to get down on your hands and knees and get a little dirty so you can serve others? We live in a culture that not only likes convenience but loves its comfort. As a result we are often unwilling to do anything which makes us uncomfortable. Christ didn’t call us to comfort he called us to care. What about you are you willing to plant, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to serve, sometimes it’s the simple things like a meal or mowing a lawn that make a difference. What if you started to sow the seeds of service? There are many practical ways to put this into practice all you need is a heart that wants to help. Either you are a servant or you are not, but if you want a good harvest then you have to be willing to participate and plant. So what seeds are you sowing? The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others will always harvests a crop of weeds. But the one who sows seeds of service will harvest a bounty of blessing. Sometimes people sow not to serve but to be seen, seeking earthy recognition rather than eternal reward. Are you serving to be seen and settling for man’s applause over that of the Almighty? Stop serving to be seen and start serving selflessly. Are you sowing sacrificially or sparingly, are you going to sow a lot or a little. Are you going to love liberally or lavishly? If you want a harvest you have to be willing to invest your heart, are you investing your life or your left overs?