do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 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. and let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. [gal 6:7-9]
in 2 cor 9:6, the Holy Spirit through the apostle paul tells us that we how much we give (of our time, resources, heart, life) affects how much fruit there is. giving left overs of our time, resources, heart and life – will definitely impact the fruit we see. in this corollary passage, the Holy Spirit again through the apostle paul tells us: it is not only the what that affects the fruit, but the where affects it as well.
that is – we can give to our flesh or we can give to God’s Spirit.
every gift has an intended recipient. in this passage, God tells us that there really is only two options. we are giving to ourselves. or, we are giving to the Spirit. you may literally be giving a gift to person “x”, but God says the gift is being given to honor and please your own flesh. or, it is being given to honor and please the Lord. we are sowing to our “flesh” or to the “Spirit”.
God makes this very clear. he knows where our heart is and why we are giving or pouring out. he will not be fooled by our cheerful appearance – but stingy heart. he will not be fooled by our large gift and selfish motives that are truly “contractual” in intent. (i will give and therefore i will get _________ from God.) “God will not be mocked” means he sees past the gift to the intended recipient. are you giving this to make much of you, or are you giving this to make much of God?
when we give to make much of God, there is much fruit. and notice, the fruit is eternal – things you and i could never do! but when we give to make much of us, there is really no fruit and all of what appears to be fruit is temporary and will decay and not last.
you and i long to believe what we are doing, what we are about matters. it can! as we sow, give through the Spirit to the Spirit. as we do, God will miraculously use our tiny gift to have great eternal impact. and, see how he ends this passage, “let us not grow weary in doing good”. God knows some of you have invested a lot through the Spirit to the Spirit and have seen little impact. oh believer, do not grow weary. God is working in his time to bear a harvest beyond your wildest imagination.
- your time with your kids to the Spirit will reap eternal benefits for generations.
- your consistent financial gift to the Lord’s storehouse is sending many to the nations and one day you will see the eternal impact of those around the throne you have never met.
- your time in prayer for that friend, is shaking the plans of hell for their life.
- your discipleship of that young believer will affect many generations of believers that will be discipled through this family tree of disciple makers.
- your steadfast love of your neighbor will impact them but even more, it will impact your family as they watch you genuinely love the “unlovely”.
there is so much more, so many more real life examples of where many of you are “doing good” by investing through the Spirit to the Spirit. please, do not give up! rest in the Spirit’s strength. from God’s great gift of his presence through Jesus’ work, give greatly to the Lord. he is the only worthy recipient.
Lord, receive me as my offering today. all of my heart, my mind, my life is yours. you alone are the only worthy recipient of any gift. you are the owner of all i could give. and today, all i have – all of me, i give to you! be honored and glorified in my worship of you! delight in my offering because of Jesus’ work in me! and Spirit, however you see fit, use me, my offering for your work. in Jesus’ name. amen!
~ john ryan