Daily Devotional

November 2, 2019

Daybreak: Galatians 6:1-18

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)

It was spring, and planting season was upon us. My young grandson and I were browsing the aisles at a home and garden center while waiting for his grandpa to purchase supplies needed for a yard project. We passed by a colorful display of seed packets, and paused to study the variety of herbs and vegetables that could be grown by someone willing to invest the time and effort. 

Our grandson had shown an interest in gardening, so on a whim, I told him, “You pick out a packet of seeds and Grandma will buy them for you.” Of course, that offer precipitated a much more in-depth scrutiny of the options available. Should he choose a Rainbow carrot mix? How about that Carnival radish blend . . . or Kentucky Wonder beans . . . or Sugar Ann snap peas . . . or Tiny Tim cherry tomatoes . . . Grandpa made his purchase and came to find us, so a final decision was required. We went home with our young farmer excitedly clutching a packet of giant pumpkin seeds in his hand.

I will admit, I was a bit skeptical about whether we would ever see pumpkins in the backyard, giant or otherwise. However, my grandson surprised me. He was diligent about caring for those pumpkin seeds! His grandpa helped him poke the seeds into small peat containers filled with potting mix, and in time, the first tiny green seedlings appeared. Each time we went to their house, we were invited to see how the baby plants were doing in their “home” on a windowsill. Eventually, Grandpa determined that the seedlings were big enough to be transplanted into larger pots, and finally into the soil along the side of the house. The two of them accomplished those tasks together.

I thought that the “out of sight, out of mind” cliché might prove true when it came to baby pumpkin plants, but once again I was wrong. Our grandson tended those plants like they were his own children! Daily he would get a cup from the kitchen, carefully fill it with water, and head out to the side yard to give his plants a drink. Evidently the plants appreciated his loving care, because they grew. A number of weeks later, we had blossoms . . . and then, at last, some tiny pumpkins. Then there were frequent trips to the side yard so we could see “how big the pumpkins are getting.” And they DID get big! Eventually, our grandson harvested a respectable number of good-sized pumpkins, and happily sold them (via his mom’s Facebook post about his entrepreneurial offerings), netting a nice little sum to put in his piggybank. His efforts had paid off!

In the context of Paul’s counsel about caring for one another in the household of faith, the Apostle admonished the Galatian church members to not be weary in well doing because “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Paul was encouraging them to keep on doing what is right and to trust God for the results, even when there was no immediate evidence that results would occur. 

The “law of the harvest” applies to our efforts to support, comfort, encourage, and edify each other in the Gospel, just as it does to raising giant pumpkins. Our grandson learned that the harvest does not come immediately after the seeds are sown; he had to be patient and keep on providing what was necessary for his plants to grow. In the same manner, we must learn not to lose heart as we invest ourselves in doing good for others. Some day we will reap a harvest of blessings for our efforts!

Background

Continuing his explanation of life in the Spirit which he had begun in chapter 5, Paul proceeded in the first part of chapter 6 to offer practical examples of how that love would be exemplified (verses 1-10). He admonished the saints in Galatia to keep the message of the Cross foremost (verses 11-16), and concluded his epistle with the customary apostolic benediction and farewell (verses 17-18).

In verses 1-5, Paul addressed the matter of restoring one who had been overtaken by sin. The verb “restore” in verse 1 is used elsewhere to signify resetting a broken bone or mending a torn net. Here, it means to repair or mend in a spiritual sense. Those who had succumbed to sin were not to be ignored, excused, or destroyed; the goal was restoration. The tense of the verb indicates that this would be accomplished over time, rather than by a single act. The Apostle did not prescribe specific methods of restoration, as these would vary according to the individual circumstances. However, he did lay out the manner in which it should be done: the erring one was to be restored “in the spirit of meekness,” thus demonstrating one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit that he had described in the previous chapter. Those who were doing the restoration were admonished to maintain a careful guard over their own personal integrity.

The term “burdens’ in the command to “bear . . . one another’s burdens” (verse 2) could refer to any type of heavy load, but in this context it alludes to the shame of one who had failed spiritually. The assertion in verse 5 that “every man shall bear his own burden” could seem to contradict verse 2. However, a different Greek word is translated as “burden” in this verse. The meaning of verse 5 is that every individual is personally responsible for the welfare of his own soul.

In verses 6-10, the Apostle took up the subject of doing good for others, with a particular emphasis upon those in the fellowship of believers. The command in verse 6 to “communicate unto him that teacheth” implies a partnership in which the one who is taught gives material and financial support to those who teach (see also Romans 15:27). Paul was making the point that those who instruct and encourage the family of God spiritually should be supported by the family of God financially. 

Paul followed up his point in verse 6 by referring to an agricultural principle in verse 7: what is planted will determine the type of harvest. He wanted the Galatians to understand that Christians will be rewarded if they invest material resources in spiritual endeavors. In contrast, the one who “soweth to his flesh” — who invests his resources in satisfying his own personal desires in ways not approved by God — will find that what he reaps is valueless and decaying. Paul challenged the Galatian believers not to become disheartened and slack in their efforts, pointing out that if they would continue, they would “reap” the glorious harvest of eternal life.

The Apostle closed his epistle by pointing out that he had written at least the conclusion of this letter himself, rather than dictating it to a scribe (verse 11). This may have been to emphasize his passion regarding the situation, or to validate the fact that what had been written was indeed a message from him. He noted that those who were opposing him and insisting upon circumcision were doing so in order to avoid the stigma associated with the Cross of Christ. In verse 14-15, he gave a completely opposite perspective, stating that he was determined to “glory” (to exalt in or boast) in the Cross of Jesus Christ, and concluding that the only thing of real importance was to be a new creation through faith in Christ.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah's Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)

IV.    Paul’s Gospel practiced
    D.    In service (6:1-16)
        1.    Concern for the weak brother (6:1-5)
        2.    Concern for sowing to the Spirit (6:6-10)
        3.    Concern for the centrality of the Cross (6:11-16)
V.    Conclusion (6:17-18)
    A.    The brand-marks of Jesus (6:17)
    B.    The benediction (6:18)

A Closer Look

  1. When did Paul say that we were to do good unto all men? (see verse 10)

  2. In verse 9, the Apostle encouraged the Galatian believers not to become “weary in well doing.” What are some aspects of our Christian lives where we will need to persevere?

  3. What are some specific ways we can “glory” in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul said he did? (see verse 14)

Conclusion

We want to continue doing right, even when we do not see immediate results. There is a spiritual reward awaiting those who do.

Reference Materials