“You reap what you sow” has become a casual saying that means something like, “You will get what’s coming to you.” It carries a bit of menace, a warning of divine payback, a bill coming due. But the message Paul is sharing with the Galatians is less about a transaction and more about how we use our freedom in Christ to live out the newness of redemption.
Sowing is an intention, a hope. If I stick a Christian symbol on my car but drive around town in a venomous rage, cursing at other drivers, is my drive truly Christian? Was my intention to be Christian or to appear to be Christian?
Paul has gained something greater than respectability. He gave up a life of status and reputation to answer a call from God that led him to be jailed and scorned. That call also caused him to experience the wild freedom of trusting God and letting everything else go, of being reconciled into this wonderful mystery of God he calls the new creation. He urges us not to grow weary in doing what is right, even though at times our efforts seem futile.
We can express our hope through small actions of generosity, like helping a friend who struggles with addiction or depression, or speaking up against injustice. We may not see the final results of these actions because the harvest is not always immediate. But if our intention, our hope, is to sow the seeds of the new creation, then what we will reap is far beyond anything we can imagine.
Keep track today of all the places you are sowing seeds of the Spirit—situations you are working and praying for in hope. Imagine the faithful harvest in each intention, and give thanks. Make an effort to sow seeds of peace somewhere today.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures describe what can happen when our own strength fails us. Naaman is a great military commander from Syria, but he has no power to heal himself. The psalmist, traditionally David, has become too comfortable in his prosperity. Both men must humble themselves before they can experience healing and restoration from God. How often do we let our pride stand in the way of our healing? Paul admonishes his readers to carry themselves with humility and to build up one another. What they do will always come back to them; what we sow, we reap. The story in Luke warns against being proud even of the gifts that God gives us. Our greatest joy is not that we can do things for God but that God has already accepted us.
Read 2 Kings 5:1-14. When have God’s instructions been more involved than you expected? How did you respond?
Read Psalm 30. How can you continue to praise God during dark, lonely, and hopeless times?
Read Galatians 6:1-16. When has your faith community struggled with members’ lack of humility? How did you resolve the situation so that you could welcome and nurture new Christians?
Read Luke 10:1-11, 16-20. When have you misconstrued God’s accomplishments as your own successes? How did you refocus your life or ministry on serving God?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.