Summary: It is true - we do reap what we sow, whether it be in training for a marathon, planting corn or beans, strengthening our marriages, disciplining our children, taking thoughts captive, or simply being kind to people.
Dance Lessons: Sowing and Reaping
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
Run, Forrest, Run
I stood at the starting line of the 2014 Christie Clinic Marathon in Champaign shaking like a leaf. Yes it was a bit chilly but that’s not why my nerves were getting the best of me. I was scared I wouldn’t make it to the finish line. Who runs their first full marathon at 44 years old?!
Enter Jennifer, a friend who had run many marathons and recognized the fear of a first time runner. This is what she told me:
“You’ve done the hard work. For 18 weeks, day after day, you’ve been training. You’ve been faithful. I know there were days you didn’t want to run but you did anyway. The difficult days are over. Today will be fun!”
And she was absolutely right! I didn’t bonk. I didn’t hit the wall. I ran with joy and never once wanted to quit. My goal was a turtle’s pace of 4:30 and I finished in 4:34 so I was satisfied with my time. It was a great day!
A couple of years ago, a young friend of ours decided she wanted to run a marathon. Instead of training for 18 weeks, she “trained” for about seven, and she didn’t do all of those runs either.
Because she was in her early 20s, she did finish the marathon, but it wasn’t fun. It was painful and grueling. And she was on crutches afterwards.
It is true - we do reap what we sow, whether it be in training for a marathon, planting corn or beans, strengthening our marriages, disciplining our children, taking thoughts captive, or simply being kind to people.
That’s the principle that Paul is going to teach the Galatians in the verses we will study this morning.
Carrying Each Others Burdens
Last week, Paul gave the Galatians, and us, a command:
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 5:2)
We learned that the word “burden” in this verse means a “heavy load that is hard to lift and difficult to carry.”
This can be related to our finances, our relationships, our losses, our emotional baggage, or our spiritual shame over sin.
By helping others with their burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ.
What is the law of Christ?
Jesus said it this way:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
David Platt has said that the surest sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in a community is love.
Paul gives the Galatian Christians an example of how to carry the burden of someone who is caught in a sin and we are told that we who have the Spirit should restore that person gently.
The word restore is the same word that is used of setting a broken bone or mending a torn net. Our goal should be to restore that person back to Kingdom usefulness.
Finally, we are to carry our own load. This load is our daily life issues that is a backpack that we carrying ourselves. And as the Goose made very clear last week, we shouldn’t be carrying other people’s backpacks.
It speaks to the time when we will stand before God at the judgement. God will deal with us individually and I asked you if you were ready for tat day.
Remember that the Galatians were dealing with a group known as the Judaizers who were telling them that the “Jesus + nothing = everything” theology of Paul wasn’t quite right.
In order to be real Christians, they had to obey the Mosaic law, follow the dietary rules, and join the covenant community through circumcision. In other words, you had to become a Jew before you could be a true Christian.
But Paul is teaching them to dance to a different rhythm - one of grace, love, mercy, joy, and freedom.
And those who dance are thought crazy by those who cannot hear the music.
Turn with me to Galatians 6. This morning, we will be looking at verses 6-10.
Where’s My Jet?!
Paul begins this section with another example of burden bearing:
“Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.” (Gal 6:6)
Martin Luther wrote that preaching on this verse made him uncomfortable. I understand that sentiment completely.
In essence, what Paul is saying is pay your pastor!
?The Galatians had come out of paganism and the pagan priests charged a fee at their Temples.
But the teaching elders that Paul appointed did not charge such fees. The Christians in Galatia were to provide for them financially as they provided spiritual instruction to them.