“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
In the Spring season my kids love running out to our garden first thing in the morning to shark any mulberries, tomatoes, or peaches that have magically arrived at maturity overnight (or at least are relatively close to maturity). Their eyes are wide with joy every time they find a ripe fruit and they can’t help but express their joy by shouting “Dad I found another one!” right before gobbling up their delightful treasure.
The joy in the predictability and beauty of this Springtime routine is more pronounced for me when I consider the work it took to cultivate our garden. I remember the effort and toil it took digging deep holes to provide appropriate homes for each plant. I remember the back pains and ice packs after tilling the soil which served to confirm the curse in Genesis 3 is true. I remember the daily regimen of tending to the young plants by fending off pests and protecting them from the scorching Texas heat. I was bit by fire ants, pricked by thorns, scraped by limestone, and attacked by my own gardening tools.
The memory of these past pains makes this season sweeter. The effort was worth it. It didn’t really feel like it at the time. I didn’t love being covered in dirt and daily having to tend to my plants. But now, to see the plants fully mature and covered in colorful fruit produces a joy in me which was first seeded in my pain and toil. This present joy could not have come without my past pain.
This season of Covid 19 and shelter in place is hard soil to work with. It presents challenges and difficulties that few of us were prepared for. It also offers us unique opportunities for growth and change. As in all seasons of the Christian life we are today called to continue to sow for a better harvest. Galatians 6:9-10 exhorts us to not grow weary in doing good, for we will reap in due time. This Scripture is true for this time as it is for all times. A few verses earlier in Galatians 6 we are also reminded:
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
In other words, we are always sowing for a future harvest: either a harvest of the fruit of the Spirit or a harvest of the fruit of our flesh. Our future experience will be shaped by what we sow today. It’s important that we understand this. The habits, activities, and choices we make today are slowly forming our future experience.
This isn’t a call to endless work and activity, but rather a call to doing good as the season requires. The analogy of farming is helpful here. There’s a time for tilling the soil, for planting, for watering and waiting, for fighting pests and weeding, and there’s a time for harvesting. If any of these steps are missed in the process the harvest will not meet its full potential.
So, what season does the Lord have you in right now? What areas is God calling you to invest in and persist in doing good? What areas is He calling you to let go of and allow room for rest? Here are some general fields to consider in the context of Covid 19 and shelter in place along with some questions to help you process:
- Neighbors – this is a unique opportunity to be around your neighbors a lot.
- Marriage – this is a unique opportunity to spend a lot of time together.
- Parenting – this is a unique opportunity to try out homeschooling and see if it is crazy or not for your family. It is also a break from organized sports and events.
- Work – this is a unique opportunity to evaluate our work and/or to have a break from our usual work rhythm.
- Physical Health – this is a unique opportunity to develop habits of exercise and rest.
- Self-Care and Growth – this is a unique opportunity to explore and invest in activities and hobbies that feed your soul whether it is cooking, cleaning, gardening, exercising, honing a craft, learning a new skill, or creating art.
- How are you currently sowing in the areas that apply to you?
- If you continue sowing in this way, what is your expected future harvest?
- What are ways you can more intentionally sow in this area for a better future harvest?
I want to invite you to honestly evaluate how you have been sowing in these categories during shelter in place. In a month from now, where will your current time investments leave you? What will you wish you had done differently? What will you be thankful you persisted in doing even though it was challenging?
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.