(Sorry for the late publishing time - I thought I had scheduled this post, but apparently I forgot to. :-P)
6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.
Verse six has often been (completely appropriately) applied to the principle of being generous with tithes to pay the wages of pastors – after all, if they don’t have to have a job in addition to their pastoring, they are able to study the Word full-time and therefore give more thorough sermons. However, I believe that it carries a command that should be applied in a much broader context, as well. You see, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and “to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7; also see entire chapter). When we are operating correctly, everyone is working to meet others’ needs, and everyone’s needs are being met. So, I believe that we should also “share all good things” with everyone who ministers to us in whatever way. This may mean a thank-you gift to a brother/sister who helped you move, organizing a congregation-wide acknowledgement for the service of a worship team leader, Sunday school teacher, or deacon, or updating someone who has prayed for you on that answered prayer. The Bible tells us that “every good thing given and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17), so let’s extend this spirit of giving to those around us.
Verses 7-9 emphasize fixing our gaze on heavenly things, rather than getting sucked into earthly things. Matthew 6:19-21 tells us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If we “sow to our own flesh” – if we spend all our time focused on us, our possessions, our appearance, our status – then we waste our lives in futility. What is 100 years of riches and fame compared to the glory that God has waiting for us in eternity? Indeed, we should devote our lives to things of eternal, not temporal, consequence – and we do this by “sowing to the Spirit.” God says in 1 Samuel 2:30, “…those who honor me I will honor…” Today, then, let us make a commitment to honor God – with our pocketbooks, our time, our words, and our actions. Truly, isn’t honor bestowed upon us by the Ruler of the Universe far superior to any earthly honor we could bring upon ourselves?
Have you ever received an e-mail or text message in which someone used all caps, underlined and in bold, with a million exclamation points after it? Some people overdo it, but in Paul’s case, he was simply trying to stress the importance of what he had to say. SO THEN, WHILE WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY, LET US DO GOOD TO ALL PEOPLE, AND ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO ARE OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE FAITH. I’ve always wished that Bible publishers would actually type this verse in a bigger size of font – how about you? J This verse hardly needs an explanation, but it serves as an important reminder…so memorize it, put in on your fridge, write it on a sticky-note next to your computer, whatever it takes! As long as we keep our hearts and minds focused on eternity and the great love that Christ showed us on the cross, we will not grow weary of doing good (verse 9).
Today’s discussion starters:
1 – How can we show appreciation to those who minister to us?
2 – Ecclesiastes is a fantastic example of the futility of storing up earthly treasures for ourselves. What examples in the Bible can you think of – both people who did so, and people who forwent riches and lives of comfort in order to devote their lives to serving the Lord?