It’s morning again. Really? It can’t be…
Since selling my business a few years ago, I have been ‘the breakfast and lunch guy’ at our house. For years now, I’ve gotten up earlier than usual, drug myself into the kitchen, and tried to come up with ideas for both a warm breakfast and a sack lunch five days a week.
I cannot tell you how many times over the course of those weeks, months, and years that I have groaned while crawling out of bed, staggering toward the kitchen, and looking into the refrigerator. With blurry eyes, I scratch my head as I try to plan these two meals every day. There are only so many ways you can serve peanut butter after all! There are so many days that I want to hand Amy a pop tart, the car keys, and a few dollars to buy lunch so I can just stay in bed. There’s a reason Paul had to remind the Galatians not to become weary in doing good (Gal 6:9) –
Doing good can just be wearisome…
If we’re honest, giving of ourselves so that we can ‘do good’ for others is hard – especially when it involves common, ordinary, day-to-day ‘stuff.’ It doesn’t really matter how much you may love the people you’re serving; giving of self through sacrificial action is draining. Not only is it demanding, but because of the commonness of some daily routines, sacrifices may go unrecognized, unappreciated, and ‘unthanked.’ In the morning quiet of my kitchen, there are no voices cheering for me, no one to spur me on toward good works. As a result, the temptation to give up is often my frequent companion.
It was on one of those quiet, routine, thankless mornings, that I heard the echoes of a soon to be empty nest, and a very bittersweet thought flooded my mind –
My time for doing good is limited…
You see, my youngest child has nearly completed the first half of her senior year. As I scrambled that morning, I came to the realization that the number of times that I will GET to fix her breakfast and pack her lunch is rapidly dwindling. In one more blink of the eye, she will be gone…Thereafter, I know that the lunchboxes will sit in the cupboard – empty and unused. The piano in the basement will sit silently collecting dust – and I will long for one more chance to go into that bedroom to wake my baby-girl up from a sound night’s sleep. The day is coming when I will play no part in her breakfast or lunch. The clock will strike midnight and Cinderella will be gone.
What is true in my home for one child is true for all of us on a much larger scale. Because our time to serve is limited –
the time for doing good is now…
As much as we may like to fool ourselves into thinking we have endless time and opportunity to demonstrate God’s love toward others, the truth is, none of us know for sure. Some changes, like a child graduating and leaving home, are predictable. However, there are so many other changes that we never see coming. The truth is, we just don’t know how much longer we will have others in our lives to show God’s love to, or how much longer we will be able to do so. Therefore, Paul says, AS WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY, let us do good to all…(Gal 6:10). The implication is for us to do the good NOW, AS the opportunity presents itself. Why? Because you and that opportunity may not always be together.
Jesus issued a sense of urgency when He told His disciples in John 9:4 – “As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent me. “
“Night is coming, when no one can work.”
However, living this way – giving to all for their good, with no regard to self, is so terribly hard. It runs counter to nearly every fiber in our beings. “Who,” we ask, “is going to take care of me?” “Why should we if nobody treats us this way in return?” If you’ve not asked these questions at some point in life, you likely will – or, you’re lying! 😉 I haven’t mastered this concept yet; I’m a selfish little stinker at heart. But, I see at least one very good reason not to give up –
At the proper time, we will reap a harvest, IF…
While she may not have given it a single thought, I’m pretty sure Amy benefitted from each breakfast and lunch that she was served. So, the recipients of our good works are blessed by our actions. In addition, it is simply good practice for me to exercise my ’others’ muscles, to roll up my sleeves and lay down my agenda to do things that ONLY benefit others. As a result, I indirectly benefit as I learn to be content with my lot in life and learn the joy of serving others.
Yet, I would be dishonest with you and with Scripture if I didn’t remind you that God is watching as we complete our good deeds for others. And, He has promised us that at the proper time, we will reap a harvest (Gal 6:9). I have no idea what that will look like. I don’t know if that means blessings in this life, blessings in eternity, or some fantastic combination of both. What God sees as the proper time may not match the timing in which I’d like to receive that harvest; but, if the God of the universe has promised me a harvest, I can rest assured that it will far exceed anything I can hope for or imagine.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9 -10)