The one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. So let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not give up. Galatians 6:8–9
Ranger training was hard! Through the cold, dark nights and bleary-eyed days of classes and field training, the goal of qualification hung from a stick and bobbed before our eyes. We set our priorities and ordered our activities so we would obtain the result we desired. The objective hung in full view and kept us going, day after interminable day. In a similar way Paul holds out a carrot to help us obtain our ultimate goal, namely a life of eternal fellowship with God and other similarly oriented people. He also places the pitchfork behind, to keep us from turning back to keep us from quitting. Without these strong motivations, we would be less likely to do what is necessary to obtain the result that we want. For the metaphorical “sow to the Spirit” resolves into the laborious and often exasperating reality of “doing good,” of enhancing the lives of the people around us. The faith that profits us works itself out in loving acts for others at every opportunity, but not always easily. To experience the joy of eternal life that Jesus set before us, we must, and can, trust him enough to lay down our lives in the service of others.
Enlighten me, O Lord, to the glories of eternal life with you. And show me that any future I can make for myself apart from you is worthless. Then fill me with love that won’t let me quit. Amen.