Scripture: Galatians 6:7-10
The promise: “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.” (Galatians 6:9)
Observation: Paul encourages the Galatians to do good, sharing that they will receive back what they’ve given. He urges them not to give into their own sinful desires but rather live to please God and rely on his spirit in them.
Application: Remember those behavior charts that you had in elementary school to encourage good behavior? Some of them were positive – like getting stickers for doing things right; some of them were negative – like moving your clothespin up the stoplight from green (good) to yellow (warning) to red (YOU MESSED UP BIG TIME).
I was a total “do-gooder” in elementary school. And by “do-gooder,” I mean a total suck up/teacher’s pet/brown noser. I was all about the straight and narrow. (Except for that one time when I cut Lyle’s hair in Kindergarden. That, my friends, is a true story. In my defense, he told me to and we had those dull scissors that could barely cut through paper, much less hair! But that defense did not hold up in the principal’s office…)
Eventually, I got rewarded for my good behavior (minus the whole Lyle hair cutting incident of 1995)... whether it was a prize at the end of the week or another star to add to my chart, there was a reward for doing what was right.
A rule follower by nature, it was pretty easy to do the right thing in elementary school. Don’t hit people (check), don’t talk while the teacher is talking (check), don’t go to the bathroom without a hall pass (check), be nice and compliant and finish your homework (check, check, and check).
But as we get older, the rules change, the pressures increase, the stakes get higher – and there’s rarely a star chart to reward us when we’re getting it right.
Paul recognizes the difficulty that comes with trying to get it right – especially when we can’t see the rewards right now. But he reminds us that the reward – the eternal reward – is more than worth it.
“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.” – Galatians 6:8
When we’re tired, when we’re overwhelmed, when we don’t see the immediate rewards, it’s so much easier to do the thing that satisfies us in the moment.
There are a lot of areas of my life right now where I want to revert back to my “sinful nature.” It’s hard to constantly point our lives towards Jesus – to be selfless and pure and full of love and grace and compassion. It’s hard to do the right thing without seeing any reward. It’s even harder to make the right decision for the long term that causes more suffering in the short term.
But it’s worth it. Paul tells us – despite the fatigue, despite the hurt, despite the pain, we must keep going.
“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.” – Galatians 6:9
My assurance is in those five little words: “At just the right time.”
God does not forget our faithfulness. He recognizes every little moment that we choose life over death. He remembers every choice we make to submit our heart, our attitudes, and our behaviors to align with his will.
And we will receive our reward – at just the right time.
At just the right time, we will see our relationships renewed, our hurts healed, our struggles overcome, our purpose realized, our prayers answered – if we don’t give up.
No matter what you’re facing today, keep going. Your faithfulness will not be forgotten.
Prayer: God, I praise you today for your faithfulness, for sending your son Jesus as our ultimate hope. I pray we keep our eyes focused on you, our hearts submitted to you. Fill us with the strength and courage we need to do the right thing – even when it’s hard, even when we’re tired of doing the right thing, even when it seems like there is no reward. We trust in you, and we believe you for that reward – at just the right time. Amen.