Summary: The only people God can’t use are those who quit. In the Christian life, it’s not how you start the race, but whether or not you FINISH the race.
Last week we started our examination of God’s Law of the Harvest: You Pick What you Plant. If you plant selfish seeds according to your sinful nature, you’ll reap of bumper crop of misery. But if you plant seeds of the Spirit, you’ll experience a bumper crop of blessings.
The time was October 1941. The place was Harrow’s School in Northwest London. Adolph Hitler had conquered Europe, and now had Britain in his sights. There had been constant bombing and much of London lay in ruins. The U.S. hadn’t entered the war yet, because this was exactly 40 days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, a Harrow alumnus, arrived to give a speech. There is a myth that he only spoke a few words and sat down, but his speech actually lasted about four minutes—still short by today’s standard for politicians! But even with bombed-out buildings surrounding them and the Nazi threat still looming, Churchill spoke these words that will never be forgotten. “Never give in; never give in; never, never, never, never—in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” And he ended his short speech with words that aren’t as famous, but are still profound. “These are not dark days; these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.” (Speech given at Harrow School, October 29, 1941)
I think the Apostle Paul was basically saying the same thing. He wrote that, when it comes to planting good seeds, we should “Never give up…never, never, never.”
Galatians 6:7-10. “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. 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.”
We’re going to learn today that there is great value in persistence. The Bible says we will reap a harvest if you do not give up. Do you have a never-say-die kind of attitude? You’ve probably heard of the frog in the kettle, but T.C. Hamlet wrote a little poem about two frogs that fell in a can of cream. One gave up and drowned, but the other one was more persistent.
Two frogs fell in a can of cream,
Or so I’ve heard it told;
The sides of the can were shiny and steep,
The cream was deep and cold.
“Oh, what’s the use?” Croaked Number 1.
“It’s fate; no help’s around.
Goodbye, my friends! Goodbye, sad world!”
And weeping still, he drowned.
But Number 2, of sterner stuff,
Frog paddled in surprise,
And while he wiped his creamy face
He dried his creamy eyes.
“I’ll swim awhile, at least” he said
Or so I’ve heard he said;
It really wouldn’t help the world
If one more frog were dead.
An hour or two he kicked and swam,
Not once stopped to mutter,
But kicked and kicked and swam and kicked,
Then hopped out on the butter!”
(kids, if you churn up cream, it turns to solid butter)
Let’s notice three truths from this passage:
I. GOOD DEEDS ARE THE GOOD SEEDS WE PLANT
Paul wrote, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” When I was in the Boy Scouts as a kid, I was anxious to win as many merit badges as I could. Today, Scouts can earn more than 100 different merit badges. That reminds me of a cartoon I saw once of a Boy Scout who showed up with a black eye. “What happened to you?” He said, “I helped a little old lady across the street.” The Scoutmaster said, “I don’t understand.” The kid said, “Well, she didn’t want to go.”
Boy Scouts earn merit badges by doing good things, but you can’t earn salvation by good works. However, when you are truly saved, you will be constantly doing good things for other people. The Bible makes it clear we aren’t saved BY good deeds, but we are saved to DO good deeds. Ephesians 2:10 says “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” James writes that faith without works is dead.
The Bible says, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” That just means we should be looking for opportunities to do good works. So, this week, I challenge you to plant as many good seeds of good deeds as you can. Here are some practical suggestions: Volunteer your time for a ministry or non-profit; When you’re in line at the store with a lot of items, offer to let a person behind you with only a few items to go ahead of you. Hold the door for someone to enter a restaurant or store. Bake cookies and deliver them to people who need a friend. Donate a bag of dog food or cat food to the local animal shelter. Visit an elderly person in a nursing home. The list is endless. See how creative you can be in performing acts of goodness to others.