Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
Faith, hope, patience – qualities needed by every farmer. In so many areas of life people look for instant results but such are not available, not only when sowing in garden or field but also in human character and behaviour. We receive many warnings about what bad diets and bad habits could do to our health in years to come, but it is so tempting and so easy to put off the evil day and continue to indulge ourselves.
The apostle knew that all this also applies on our spiritual journey as Christians where we also experience comparable temptations. It is so easy to slip into bad habits and then accept them as normal.
In some ways trying to unpack these words of Paul reduces their impact rather than reinforcing it but my eye fell on verse nine, “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right” and I called to mind Cowper’s line in his hymn at R&S 551, “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord?” Those of us whose faith journey is already quite long may remember our initial exhilaration when faith came alive, and now find that such feelings have grown weak. I write not long after the death of Billy Graham who led so many people to make a commitment to Jesus, but they later found that worldly pressures, and Church life, dulled that initial response so that weariness and worse took over and they lost the sense of blessedness.
The seeds we sow, the habits and practices that we develop may take a long time to show fruit, be it good or bad, but that harvest will come. God is not mocked: but God is also faithful, loving and just. May God give us grace and strength to stand firm and persevere.
A Prayer of Thomas Aquinas
Give us, Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow on us also, Lord God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
The Rev’d Julian Macro, Retired Minister, member of Verwood URC