“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 (NLT)
I was told to memorize this verse by someone I look up to greatly. I love Paul’s writing so I take pleasure in doing such a simple but meaningful task. So what does it mean? No idea. I’m going to write about it though.
I notice a few things when it comes to this verse. Some have to do with the verse itself. Some have to do with its context. For example, don’t you find it interesting that throughout the Bible, there are countless verses that compare the Kingdom of God to reaping a harvest? A parable within a parable within the Bible which is filled with parables. Paul is surely falling back on his Jewish and Christian beliefs when he references reaping a harvest. Jesus told many stories of this kind. When something like this is used time and time again in the Bible, in my experience that usually means it has micro, and macro meanings, shooting truths on all sorts of different levels and dimensions. Timeless truths that speak to infinite issues. Something only the Bible can do. Some far beyond our comprehension no doubt.
What Paul is telling the Galatians here is essentially ‘Look, it’s hard now, I know you feel like giving up. Yet if you are driven by the Spirit, you will endure long after your flesh can withstand. That is where you find yourselves now. It may feel like the worst spot you have ever been in but don’t fall for it. You have reached an area that you have never reached before. Uncharted territory. You are being kept afloat by the Spirit alone, no longer by your flesh. Hold steady and don’t give in now, because your reward is worth it, and it is near.’
What an incredible message. I am so thankful for Paul’s unrelenting encouragement to the early churches of his time which were basically underground. I love to think of all the letters in the New Testament as a group of priceless looks inside an underground movement called ‘Christianity’ that would someday reshape the entire world. It all started after Jesus’ crucifixion essentially with one question, “What now?”. I marvel at how honest and sincere the letters are. There are debacles over the law. Misunderstandings of Jesus’ message. Unlikely characters becoming some of the strongest and most fierce Christians to ever live. All down on paper for us to read. It is so easy to take that for granted today as Christianity has now hit every edge of the globe.
Paul finds himself having to keep reminding the early churches of the Word and it’s meaning and why it is so important to stick to that meaning. He does it even from a prison cell. He did it literally until he was martyred for it. He was relentless and very ‘in your face’ at times. Even having a scuffle with Peter himself, essentially calling him a hypocrite and dismissing him! THE Peter. Yet at other times his amazing usage of words and the sincerity behind them were so beautiful. Anytime you can actually feel the emotion and sincerity of a writer through their words it is a special thing. I find that with Pauls writings all over the New Testament. What a remarkable person.
He follows up this message to the Galatians with “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:10 NLT)
To me, this is saying pretty directly that since we are blessed with the promise of the harvest, we shouldn’t keep it to ourselves. Spread this joy to others so that they may experience it too. Especially to fellow Christians who are in the same positions as you, and may need an encouraging hand. Once you have understood how amazing the gift you have been given is, why wouldn’t you go spread it to others in order that they may have this gift too? Especially those whom you love dearly. Maybe that is the gift itself.
Finally, on a personal level, this message encouraged me to be thankful for what I have, even in the hard times. If you are fighting the good fight, and are having a hard time because of it, you are in the same exact spot Paul tells the Galatians they are in. Running on Spirit alone. Close to reaping the harvest. Uncharted territory. While exploring any uncharted territory can be frightening, hard, make you want to turn back, take you out of your comfort zone, or give up. Without exploring these territories, would we not be robbed of the most beautiful discoveries ever imaginable? Think about the infinite things we would potentially miss out on. Including, in the words of Paul, Ever-Lasting life. (Galatians 6:8 NLT)