Mother’s Day :: May 11, 2014
Galatians 6:7-10 is not a passage that is normally read on Mother’s Day. But I think that as we unpack these four verses, we will see how it applies to being a Christian Mother.
Many years ago, I asked my wife what Christian Mothers really need to hear on Mother’s Day.
Is it “Thank you!” Is it, “You’re doing a great job! Keep the good work?” What do Christian Moms really need to hear on Mother’s Day.
And I remember we were out for a walk, and I asked her that. And I’ll never forget. She said that those things are good to hear, but she said that what moms really need to hear is simply this, “We need to hear that it’s worth it.”
We need to hear something that will motivate us to go through often sleepless nights and to get up in the morning and spend your day in sacrifice for little sinners. We need to hear that it’s worth it.
And I can understand that. As a father of 4 and watching her do what she does day after day this last 14 years, I can see how it would be overwhelming.
I see that in our MOPS group. They need to be told that it’s worth it and to hold on.
But it’s not just parents of little ones that need to hear it. Maybe yours are older. Maybe they are out of the house, with children of their own. But you are still their mother. You still have responsibilities to your children, even if you are no longer responsible for them. I believe that you, too, need to hear that it’s worth it.
And it’s not good enough to just hear it from a friend. It’s helpful when a friend comes along and says, “I loved mothering. It’s worth every sacrifice.” It’s helpful, but it’s not enough. You need to hear it from God. You need to hear that it’s worth it with the authority of the word of the living God standing behind it.
To see what God is saying here, it will be helpful to divide the passage up into 3 parts: a warning, a calling, and a promise.
The warning can be sobering.
The calling can be tiring.
But the promise makes it all worthwhile.
First, the warning.
WARNING: GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED! Vv.7&8
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
Paul warns us: God will not be mocked.
Now, by that, he means that no one gets away with mocking God. Of course, you can sit right there in your pew and thumb your nose at God. You can make faces at God. You can make fun of His holy Word. You can try to sneak around behind God’s back. But you will not get away with it!
“Do not fool yourself,” Paul says, “God will not be mocked.”
God will not be made a fool of.
God will not allow anyone to “get away” with anything.
There will be consequences.
That’s the point of v.7.
Our earthly actions will have eternal consequences. Let me say that again. Our earthly actions will have eternal consequences.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
Here we have an agricultural metaphor. You sow a seed into the ground. Then you wait. Rain, Sun, Rain, Sun, Rain, Sun --> harvest, reaping time!
This is sowing season, right now, right? We put our gardens in now. Anybody got their garden already?
What you have sown, you will reap.
If you sow barley, you will get barley.
If you sow corn, you will get corn.
If you sow thorns, you will get thorns.
If you sow tomatoes, bring some over to my place! I love tomatoes!
God has set up the moral universe in the same way. There are consequences for our actions and attitudes.
Our earthly actions will have eternal consequences. Guaranteed.
It may not seem like it. It may seem like someone is getting away with something... bu, remember, there is always a time period between planting and harvest.
And God says that the harvest will come, no matter what. Our earthly actions will have eternal consequences. Guaranteed.
V.8 describes our two choices:
“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
Only two choices.
Actions born of flesh will reap corruption. Actions born of faith will reap life.
That’s pretty simple, isn’t it?
Actions born of flesh will reap corruption. Actions born of faith will reap life.
Why do I say flesh? That’s the word behind “sinful nature” in v.8. Greek word, “Sarx.” It refers to our old, fallen self that loves to justify itself with good works and indulge itself with forbidden pleasures.
Actions that are born of the flesh or as v.8 says, “sown to please the sinful nature” will reap the harvest of corruption or destruction. Guaranteed. Count on it. Don’t deceive yourself by thinking that you can get away with it.
However, actions born of faith [why do I say faith? V.8 says “sown to please the Spirit,” what pleases the Spirit? FAITH DOES.]. Actions born of faith (pleasing to the Spirit) will reap eternal life from the Spirit.
Now, actually the words “to please” are not in the original Greek. They are added in to help us understand he’s saying in English.
The King James has it very literal here. It says, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
The flesh and the Spirit are the fields that are sown into.
To the one who puts his grain (his faith, his pleasures, his work) into the field of the flesh, he will get corruption, destruction, and death.
To the one who puts his grain (his faith, his pleasures, his work) into the field of the Spirit, he will of the Spirit reap eternal life and blessedness.
Genuine believers sow “to the Spirit.” They have faith in Christ alone [which is what the book of Galatians is all about!] and so they exercise that faith by sowing to please the Spirit. And they reap eternal life.
Unbelievers (and fake believers) sow “to the flesh.” They have faith in themselves and so they exercise that faith by sowing to please the sinful nature. And they reap eternal death.
Those are our two choices. A life of flesh or a life of faith.
And there are eternal consequences for our earthly choices. Guaranteed. Don’t fool yourself into thinking anything else. God will not be mocked.
That’s the warning.
Now, what in the world does that have to do with being a Christian Mother?
Simple: If you are a Mother, you are accountable to God.
Being a Mother is not just something that you chose. It is something that God chose for you. It is a calling. A sacred calling. And you will have to give an account to God for how you handled your calling.
Is that a sobering thought for you this morning? It probably should be.
Many, many mothers in America have thrown away their sacred calling to sow seeds of pleasure for their flesh.
And God will not be mocked. There will be a reckoning.
If you are a mother, you are accountable to God for the discharging of your sacred duties.
God is watching. He is not too busy in the Ukraine or Syria to attend to your parenting.
God is evaluating your mothering of your children. Are you sowing grain to please the Spirit in the life of your children? That’s what Christian Mothers do.
But those who throw away their grain into the desires of their flesh will reap destruction.
God will not be mocked.
Do you see your job as a mother as being one of the most important jobs in the universe?
It is. Mothering (especially the at-home variety) is often perceived as a second-class job in our culture. But the instilling of Christian concepts, values, and principles from the earliest age while providing a protective, nurturing, disciplining, training environment is one of the greatest callings that God has ever bestowed on human beings. That’s what Christian mothering is. It is a great calling.
With every great calling comes great accountability.
In the movies and the comic-books, Spider-Man learned that with great power comes great responsibility. And that’s true in real life, too.
With every great calling comes great accountability.
If you are a Mother, you are accountable to God.
Don’t try to deceive yourself. Don’t say that what you choose to do doesn’t matter. It matters very much to God. He gave you that child. He gave you those children. It matters very much what you do with them.
You are accountable to God because you have a great calling. That’s the second division of our passage.
A CALLING: GOD CALLS US TO DO GOOD AND TO NOT GIVE UP DOING GOOD. Vv.9&10
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
The call of God on all of us is to do good. That’s what we just read. V.10. “Let us do good to all people, especially to [the church.]”
The call of God on all of us is to do good. In the context, v.1 is a call to do good to those who are caught in a sin, v.2 is call to carry each other’s burdens, v.6 is a call to do good to those who teach the word of God by sharing all good thing.
The call of God on all of us (not just moms) is to do good.
And Christian Mothers are called by God to do good to a specific set of people called sons and daughters. V.10 says, “As we have opportunity to do good.”
Well, when you live with a little one that you gave birth to, you will have lots of opportunity to do good to them.
Cook, clean, feed, train, wipe, teach, forgive, dress, undress, spank, coach, coax, lift, push, pull, and carry. And then REPEAT!
Many prayers, conferences with teachers, little league games, soccer tournaments, doctors appointments, bills, bills, bills.
God calls moms to do good to their children.
Of course, that sounds obvious when we say it, but it is very tempting to not live like that. It is very tempting to live our lives for ourselves and not give ourselves away in service to our children.
Did you hear the promises that Todd and Heather made to God for Landen today?
One of those promises we make is to serve their children and not to use them.
I remember when I first heard that promise, and I said, “Oh yeah, that’s Christian parenting.”
It’s easy to use our children for prestige, or to live our unmet dreams through them, or to ship them off into someone else’s hands so that we can chase after our desires.
But God calls us to serve them. To love them. To do what is best for them, no matter what the personal sacrifice. To do good to them.
And to not give up doing good to them. V.9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good” Do not give up.
Hold on. Keep doing good. Don’t give in or give up. Keep your shoulder to the wheel. Keep on doing good.
I think that here is where many mothers fail. They start out excited about being a mother. But when the going gets tough, they buckle and bail.
But God is saying, “Mothers, don’t jump ship. Keep your hands to the rudder. Keep the sail up. Keep doing good to your children. Keep doing good to your children. Keep doing good to your children. Don’t run. Don’t hide. Do good and hold on.”
A number of years ago, I grew weary of doing good as a pastor. [This verse is about all doing good (especially in the church).] I just got tired of doing what was right in a few relationships that were difficult.
And at that time, God engraved this verse on my soul, and it became my biggest prayer request. “Do not grow weary of doing good.” King James, “Let us not be weary in well doing.”
I had to make a list of people to whom I needed to apologize. It was several people long. People that I had failed as their pastor in some way. Some of you were on that list. I had just given up with them, and God said, “Matt, do not grow weary in well-doing.”
It took me several months, almost a year, to apologize to everyone on that list. But by God’s grace, I did. And I felt an incredible freedom.
God is calling all of us (not just mothers) to do good and to keep on doing good. Even if it hurts. Especially, if it hurts.
Especially, if you are the mother of a prodigal. Some of you may have children who are not living like you taught them to.
Don’t give up now on being their Mother. Pray for them. Love them. Advise them. Do good to them. Keep on keeping on.
God is calling us to do good and to not give up doing good.
To hold on...for the harvest.
That’s the promise of this passage. And it makes it all worthwhile. V.9 again.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
GOD PROMISES A GREAT HARVEST TO THOSE WHO HOLD ON.
It is worth it. It is worth it. It is worth it.
Heather Joy, it is worth it.
Heather Dobo, it is worth it.
Mothers, it is worth it.
Dads, it is worth it.
Grandparents, it is worth it.
Singles, it is worth it.
Aunts and Uncles and Sunday School Teachers, it’s worth it.
It is worth it!
Doing good to please the Spirit in whatever sphere of life God places you in is worth it.
It may not feel like it now, but that’s because it’s not harvest time yet.
There is always a delay between planting and harvest.
But God says in v.9 that “at the proper time we will reap a harvest.”
“At the proper time.”
Not too early, not too late, but right on time, we will reap a harvest.
King James Version, “In due season.”
When harvesting season comes, we will reap the benefits of our doing good.
Is that legalism? Only if we think that we are earning those blessings by doing that good. And we can’t. We must do all of this in the power of the Holy Spirit and by faith in His grace. But we must do it. And if we do, if we hold on, we will see the harvest.
Isn’t that a glorious promise?
Do you get a mental picture of barns bursting with blessing because of God’s harvest having come in? God guarantees the harvest, and He asks us to sow for it and to hold on until it comes.
Does this mean that mothering becomes easy? Not easy, but probably easier, if we can see the end in our minds as we contemplate the harvest.
Does this mean that all prodigals will come home? No. God allows some prodigals to never return. But it does mean that Mothers of prodigals will see why they had to go through all of that pain. And they will hear the Father of all Prodigals welcome them to heaven with a “well done, good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your Master.”
God promises a great harvest to those who hold on to doing good.
Some of that harvest will come in this life. In many cases, we will see our children grow up. We will see the results of our labors:
-We will see the self-discipline that we were trying to build with our efforts at discipline.
-We will see the faith that we were trying to instill with all of those family devotions at bed time.
-We will see the fruit our secret prayers for our children. Daily asking for their salvation, their sanctification, their joy in Christ.
-In many cases, we will meet the spouse that we have been praying for them since before they were even born.
In many cases, we will get to see portions of the harvest in this life.
But the greatest portion is in the next life, when we enjoy the rewards of our faithfulness here. When we get crowns for trusting in the promises of God and being obedient. When we gain the ability to know God without the distorting damage of our sin. When we see Christ face to face and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”
“At the proper time WE WILL REAP A HARVEST if we do not give up.”
Yesterday, we honored Beatrice Johnson at her memorial service for how she hung on in faith.
Today is her 92nd birthday. How many decades? How many decades did she hold on to faith? Did she, a single person, sow to the Spirit?
And now she’s reaping eternal life.
It is worth it.
Fathers, grandparents, singles, children, youth, and (especially today) Mothers, let’s hold on and do good to those God has put in our lives. Let’s sow the grain of goodness pleasing to the Spirit into their lives and anticipate the great harvest that will come in due season.