SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (December 18, 2013)
“7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” Galatians 6:7-10.
“LET US NOT BECOME WEARY IN DOING GOOD, FOR AT THE PROPER TIME WE WILL REAP A HARVEST IF WE DO NOT GIVE UP” Galatians 6:9 (NIV).
In the previous edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we considered the need for Christians who receive God’s word through HIS messengers to also support God’s messengers by providing for their material and other needs. This is very important because those who dedicate their time to the study of God’s word do so in order to be able to nourish our souls all the time. It is therefore proper that even as they help nourish our souls, we also help nourish their bodies. If we fail to help nourish their bodies we become ungrateful to God and his servants. Paul continued his exhortation to believers from Galatians 6:7-10. It is a continuation of what we discussed in verse Galatians 6:6. (Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 7)
After exhorting believers to do good to God’s servants who teach them God’s word, Paul did not end there. In fact that would have meant he was only being selfish, thinking about himself or the apostles who spread the gospel alone. But he moved a step further to exhort believers to do good to all men. I think this is a big difference between Paul’s teaching and what many preachers and pastors do when talking about Galatians 6:6. To me, Galatians 6:6 should not be isolated from verses 7-10. Unfortunately, many preachers would prefer talking to their congregations about giving to support the needs of their pastors and teachers without mentioning the need for doing good to other members of the Christian fraternity. It is suicidal to the body of Christ because it has the tendency of directing all members to focus their attention on supporting the pastors without caring about the needs of other members of the body of Christ. I would like to encourage my fellow teachers and pastors that when we are blessed by our members, we should also support the other members who are in need. This balance is very much needed to ensure that everyone in the body of Christ is not left out (Acts 2:45-46).
Paul started his exhortation for doing good by reminding believers about the principle of reaping what is sown. This is to help us remember that there is reward for the good things we do and there is punishment for the bad things we do. We cannot expect to reap orange after planting apple or the vice versa. With this principle in mind, we shall be thoughtful of what we do or do not do as believers especially in relation to being good to believers. Goodness is the nature of God which should reflect in the life of every Christian. We know that God sent his son Jesus Christ into the world to save us as part of his goodness. He also supplies all our needs and forgives us our sins out of his goodness. This should be seen in all those who have benefited from the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross. BECAUSE JESUS HAS BEEN GOOD AND CONTINUES TO BE GOOD TO US, WE MUST ALSO DO GOOD TO ALL MEN. Another way of saying this is that we should have the same attitude of Christ which causes him to share all good things with his people in us.
EVERY GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT COMES FROM ABOVE, COMING DOWN FROM THE FATHER OF THE HEAVENLY LIGHTS WHO DOES NOT CHANGE LIKE SHIFTING SHADOWS.
Paul mentioned that believers should focus on sowing to please the Spirit because that is the only way to reap eternal life. By sowing to please the Spirit, Paul meant that Christians should live by according to the Fruit of the Spirit discussed in Galatians 5:22-23. One aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit is goodness. The contrast of sowing in the Spirit is sowing in the sinful nature. By sowing in the sinful nature, we are being reminded of the acts of the sinful nature discussed in Galatians 5:19-21. Paul says that if we walk according to the acts of the sinful nature, we shall be destroyed by God. Therefore it is important for believers to always draw nearer to God in order to be able to sow in the Spirit by which we can enjoy eternal life. According to Paul, failure to understand the principle of reaping what we sow is a deception to ourselves because God cannot be mocked. If we ignore the fact that God will reward us for walking according to the direction of the Spirit and will equally punish us for walking according to the acts of the sinful nature, we are mocking ourselves.
It is very easy for believers to become weary of doing good especially if we do not get what we expected to get from people we did good to. However, it is wrong for us to expect anything from others for being good to them because we have not been called and sent by men. Our reward comes from the one who has called and sent us. Our duty is to obey what the Lord has taught us and continue doing good to people. We should not become weary and decide to stop what we are doing because people continue to pay us evil for our good. Rather we should learn to be patient, bearing in mind that the one who has called us is faithful, and he shall reward us in the end. We should also not forget that what we do for God is nothing near what he does for us. Yet he does not get weary, but continues to be good to us. We continue to have our sins forgiven on daily basis. God does not become weary of us. In the same way, we should not become weary of doing good. We should continue in doing good to others even if they continue to pay us back with evil; we should never give up. This is because in the end we shall reap a good harvest. If we become weary of doing good and give up, we shall reap a bad harvest.
Yet our goodness should not be done among only those who are outside of the family of believers; we should also consider the poor and the needy among us. It is sad to see many Christian organizations and churches sending aid to orphans and needy homes while ignoring the orphans, the widows and the needy in the family of believers. Many do that to show the world about the love of Christ for the whole world in other to attract people into the body of Christ. But that is incomplete if we ignore the needy ones amongst us. We must learn to take care of the needy ones within the body of Christ and extend it to those outside. Apostle John taught us that we cannot ‘hate’ our brothers and sisters whom we see every day and claim to love the Lord we do not see with our naked eyes.
“IF A MAN SAY, I LOVE GOD, AND HATETH HIS BROTHER, HE IS A LIAR: FOR HE THAT LOVETH NOT HIS BROTHER WHOM HE HATH SEEN, CANNOT LOVE GOD WHOM HE HATH NOT SEEN” 1 John 4:20 ASV.
It implies therefore that it is improper to claim we love God by showing kindness to those outside the family of believers while ignoring the needs of those within the family of God we meet every now and then.
Let us therefore think of the needs of those among us even as we consider the needs of those outside the family of believers.
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.