I turned the television on the other day to one of the sports channels. It said that the particular station had been removed. I switched to another sports channel, and that channel too had been removed. I have had various channels removed because the satellite company is not willing to pay a television network their new prices. However, my bill hasn’t decreased because of the loss of channels.
We want those things for which we have paid and feel cheated when services are taken away. We want life to be fair! Likewise, God wants us to act fairly in our daily lives.
“Do not be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others — ignoring God! — harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8 The Message).
Paul gives practical advice in these two verses. If we spend our time “sowing to the flesh,” spending our resources on the numerous pleasures of ordinary life, then all we will have to show for it will be the corruption and decay to which everything in the world is ultimately subject. Fine houses fall down. Splendid clothes wear out. TV channels are removed. The ministry of the word builds up people and communities, and the life they then have will gloriously outlast death itself.
So Paul is eager that the ordinary Christians in Galatia should “do good to everybody,” especially to the family marked out by faith. Those who “sow” behavior which relates to the flesh will reap the appropriate result, which is ultimately death; those who sow to the spirit will reap eternal life, the life of the new age that has already broken in, in Christ, and will one day be complete.
Thus in the wider moral life, as well as financial, it holds true that those who persevere with patience, not growing tired or losing their enthusiasm for living the life of the spirit, will reap the true harvest.
Dennis Voth is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Arkansas City.