At the heart of this passage you find a statement that encapsulates a truth found all through the Bible (7), namely that what you ‘’sow’’ you will also ‘’reap’’. If you plant corn, you don’t expect to harvest potatoes! ‘’What a person plants, he will harvest.’’ In everything we do or say we are ‘sowing’, either to ‘’please’’ the ‘’sinful nature’’ or ‘’the Spirit’’ (8). Actions have consequences, for good or bad. It depends on the nature of the ‘seed’ we are scattering. (I remember a well-known Christian author/preacher saying that we cannot keep sowing to ‘the flesh’ and expect to grow spiritually. It doesn’t work like that.) We have seen, in this letter that you don’t do good in order to become a Christian. It doesn’t work like that. But as a Christ-follower, indwelt by His Spirit, you are set free to do good (see Ephesians 2:10). This is not in order to become something, but because of what you are in Christ. So we are to sow seeds of goodness everywhere (9). Whether appreciation is shown or not; whether it seems to have any impact or not; whether we benefit from it or not, realise the results are in God’s Hands. We can trust Him with the harvest. Faithful seed sowing must lead to a crop. God will give us what we have worked for. ‘’Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.’’ (10).The Message. At times, we may feel that those around us don’t show the consideration we might like to receive from them. But the issue is not how others are behaving. We can’t control that. We can, however, do something about our own behaviour. We can walk out into each new day, determined to sow goodness seeds everywhere, and as many as possible. Being and doing good today, by the power of the Holy Spirit, are within reach of all true believers in Christ. How many opportunities to do good did we miss yesterday? Today is a new opportunity. Let us ‘seize the day’.
Here are some ways we can show this goodness to others:
- By gentleness (6a; compare with 5:15, 26): ‘’If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.’’ The Message. Our aim should be to lift people up where possible, not pull them down.
- By humility (1b, 3; see Romans 12:3): Recognise your own weakness, vulnerability to temptation, and proneness to fall.
- By giving mutual support (2; see 1 Corinthians 12:26).
- By not comparing or competing with our brothers and sisters (4, 5). It is sadly possible to feel good (or better) about yourself by thinking ill of others. But the gospel tells us it is not our job to judge anyone. Conversely, we can look at other people and feel inferior. The message is, ‘Just be yourself in Christ.’ With God’s help; with the power of His Spirit in you, be the best version of who He made you to be that you can be. The only person you can legitimately compare yourself with is Jesus. Doing this will keep you humble. ‘’Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.’’ The Message. The ‘’load’’ in (5) is different from the ‘’burdens’’ in (2). It is about doing your duty; fulfilling your own God-given responsibility; being who God has made you to be.
- By generosity (6). In this particular case the point relates to looking after those who teach the Word. Prayer: Thank you Lord that this day will be crammed with opportunities to do good. Help me to see, and to seize, each one, for your glory.