Intro: Someone has said that the greatest enemy of enthusiasm is time. Human beings have a remarkable capacity for losing interest. We tire often and easily of even the best of things. You can probably think of something that interested you a great deal in the past, which no longer captures your attention. The joy often fades and the colors get dull.
Time takes its toll on our spiritual fervor as well. When you began teaching that Bible class, you were excited and enthused, but now it seems more of a chore. We can get tired of doing good. When we return to the scripture that contains the promise we are focusing on this month – God’s promise of a harvest in Galatians 6:9 – we find this admonition – Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. The HCS translation says, “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.”
Last week we considered 7-8, and noticed the nature of the harvest that God promises us. It is a harvest (or reaping) that is determined and defined by our sowing. The apostle tells us we will reap what we sow. If we sow to the flesh we will reap a harvest that is corruptible. If we sow to the Spirit we will reap eternal life. This is an undeniable principle of the harvest on which the promise is based. But connected with the promise of harvest is an admonition:
I. Let us not grow weary… If we faint not” – What does this mean? – These two phrases derive from the same root. To “be weary” – here is Ekkakeo (ek-kaka-eh’-o) which mean to be afraid, to become discouraged, to become weary or tired, to despair, to be weak or to fail (Vine’s). The word for “faint” at the end of this verse is ekluo (ek-loo’-o) which means to relax (literally or figuratively) or faint. Paul pictures one who is so discouraged or despondent that he simply quits; One who is so tired, he refuses to go on. Jamieson translates is as ‘let us not go OUT OF duty’s path through fear.’ And makes the point that growing weary refers to the will; fainting to relaxation of the power. The apostle envisions one who quits before he gets to the end, but what is he quitting; of what has he grown weary?
A. “…of doing good” – what specifically he is referring to? The immediate context points to 1) restoring a brother who is overtaken in sin (6:1), 2) bearing another’s burden (6:2), and 3) sharing our resources with those who teach the truth (6:6). But the overall context takes us back to the development of the fruits of the Spirit at the end of chapter 5. (Gal 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.) This is truly the “sowing to the Spirit” under consideration. Have you ever grown tired of being good? Have you ever grown weary of loving people who hate you? Trying to make peace with the contentious? Being patient with the rebellious; being kind to the hateful; doing good to those who are unthankful; treating the harsh people with gentleness; trying to control your desires when no else is controlling theirs? It can be difficult to keep on the path of righteousness when there is so much unrighteousness around us. It can seem to be a useless endeavor. It is a waste of time?
B. Why do we get tired of living righteously, or doing good?
- Conflict with the ungodly world.
- Ingratitude those we serve.
- Indifference of other Christians
- The size of the task before us
- Opposition to the work
- Some experience what has been labeled as “burnout.”
- Failure to see results.
- Active persecution.
- Our job is to plant and water; God’s work is to give the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-9). God has not put us in charge of the harvest; we are to sow the seed.
1. Jesus spoke of a time when evil would appear to have the upper hand – Matt 24:11-13“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow (Wax) cold.”But he who endures to the end shall be saved. The verb “wax cold” [psugeesetai (grk 5594)] means originally “to breathe or blow;” and the picture is that of spiritual energy blighted or chilled by a malign or poisonous wind. (from Vincent’s Word Studies of the New Testament). We must not allow ourselves to be chilled by the evil of our generation. We cannot abandon the task of doing good. God promises a harvest. But when?
II. “In Due Season” – Another absolute about reaping a harvest is that you must wait for it. The harvest does not come right away. For the farmer the waiting is a built part of the process (it tells you right on the packet of seeds, and serious farmers plant accordingly. James uses this principle of necessary waiting to teach patience… James 5:7 – Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.
A. “The Early and Latter Rain” – The early rain came in October or November for the germination of the grain, and the latter rain was needed in April and May for maturing the grain. The phrase denotes the full spectrum of the growing season – beginning to end. The mentioning of the early and latter rain reminded me of an OT scripture (Deut. 10 &11) where God made specific promises to Israel concerning the land of Canaan (getting ready to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land). Moses reviews the Law given at Sinai and calls the nation be obedient to all of God’s statutes. He also catalogues their rebellion in the past, reminding them of the great miracles they had witnessed since coming out of Egypt (11:7).
1. Moses reminds them that the land they are going to possess is a “land flowing with milk and honey” (11:9), unlike the land of Egypt they left behind. Egypt (desert) had to be “watered by foot”, or irrigated by men, like a vegetable garden. (11:10). But Canaan was a land suited to provide for them because the hills and valleys would distribute the natural rain (from heaven). Read Deut. 11:12-17 – ...a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. 13 ‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. 15 And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.’ 16 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, 17 lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you. Jehovah was the true God, and as such had complete control over the harvest of crops, and the produce of the land. Their retention of the land rested on their faith in the promise of the early and latter rain. They could believe at least two things:
a) They could trust God to provide everything they needed for a plentiful harvest. Not need to water this land by hand or foot.
b) God would see it through to the end – He would not abandon them. Later in this speech Moses assures them that if they will trust and obey Jehovah, and not turn to other gods, He will drive out all of their enemies.
2. “Take heed to yourselves” (v. 16 of Deut. 11) God’s promise of a harvest contained a call for personal responsibility. But they had to be patient and be obedient. If they did not abandon Jehovah for other gods; if they did not grow weary of doing good (being obedient); if they saw it through to the end, they would see the harvest God provided.
a) Do you think God proved Himself reliable and trustworthy in this regard? Materially God easily provided for Israel. They flourished in the land. He gave them powerful victories over their enemies, without the aid of chariots and political alliances. Consider the words of the Psalmist: Ps 107:31-43 – Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! 32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders. 33 He turns rivers into a wilderness, And the watersprings into dry ground; 34 A fruitful land into barrenness, For the wickedness of those who dwell in it. 35 He turns a wilderness into pools of water, And dry land into watersprings. 36 There He makes the hungry dwell, That they may establish a city for a dwelling place, 37 And sow fields and plant vineyards, That they may yield a fruitful harvest. 38 He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly; And He does not let their cattle decrease. 39 When they are diminished and brought low Through oppression, affliction and sorrow, 40 He pours contempt on princes, And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way; 41 Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction, And makes their families like a flock. 42 The righteous see it and rejoice, And all iniquity stops its mouth. 43 Whoever is wise will observe these things, And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.
B. God’s promise of harvest is conditional on our endurance, or faithfulness. “If we faint not”. Paul elsewhere compares our life as God’s people as a foot race. Heb. 12:1-2 – let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1. This race is not a sprint, it is a marathon. The word endurance literally means “to abide under, to wait patiently.” We cannot allow ourselves be distracted. Many sprint out of the gate, but soon tire out and fall out of the race. Do you know any of these>
a) endurance requires counting the cost. Jesus admonished his disciples to count the cost of following Him. Those who did not would easily become discouraged and fail to finish. Being a Christian will not solve all of your problems.
b) endurance requires constant prayer: We must speak to God and cast upon him our cares. We need to seek the courage and strength that God supplies. After describing the elements of spiritual armor that we need to fight the battle (or win the struggle), Paul says… “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Eph 6:18)
c) endurance requires renewal of spirit: That means being renewed in our spirit by God’s Spirit, through a constant contact with the words of God. Eph 4:22-23 – that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 2 Cor 4:16-18 – 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. How much time do you spend renewing your mind in the things of the Spirit by meditating and reading the word of God? Gal 6:9 – And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
d) The harvest we are sowing towards (spiritual – fruit of the Spirit) takes time to develop. We must be patient with ourselves and others.
Conclusion: Do you have confidence that doing good has its own reward? Jesus answers this for us. His willingness to persevere in doing good (accomplishing the work the Father gave Him to do) was rewarded in own glorification, but ours as well.