Study 10 OUR PROGRAMME, PERIL AND PROSPECT
(Scripture Portion: Galatians 6: 1-9)
In this concluding study we are to consider one of the great dangers which faces us as Christians and as Christian workers, namely, that of weariness which causes us to give up instead of winning through. The apostle brings this danger before us in Galatians 6:9, and in order that we may see the force of this great danger let us consider the teaching of the whole verse.
1. OUR PROGRAMME AS SERVANTS OF THE LORD
What is to be our task, our job of work, as Christians and as workers for the Lord? In Galatians 6:9 there are two words which describe Christian service, “doing good” - look up Acts 10:38, and compare John 20:21. In 1 Peter 3:17, “doing good” is contrasted with “doing evil”. In Ephesians 2:10, we read that we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works”. No one is saved by doing good (Ephesians 2:8 and Titus 3:5), but everyone who is saved should give evidence of that fact by doing good (Titus 3:8). What does it mean to do good? Surely it consists of every act of service, whether great or small, which is done for Jesus’ sake. It may take the form of what we specifically describe as Christian work - for example, preaching, teaching, or visiting; or it may consist of looking after someone’s children while the parents attend a service; or it may be giving a cup of cold water in the Name of the Lord (Matthew 10:42). What scope there is for doing good! In this chapter 6 of Galatians, however, several special acts of doing good are mentioned.
- Giving spiritual help to others (verse 1). Too often, when our brethren or sisters are in spiritual difficulty, we criticise them or ostracise them. Take heed to the exhortation in this verse, and look up John 13:12-15.
- Sharing the burdens of others (verse 2). Do we know anything about this? Here is a great ministry in which all of us may engage - look up Acts 20:35 and 1 Thessalonians 5:14. There should be a mutual sympathy flowing between Christians at all times, and especially in times of trial and testing.
- Sharing what we have with others (verse 6). If we have received so much from the Lord, we should be ready to share what we have received, whether they be spiritual or temporal blessings, with those around us who are in need - look up Acts 2:44; 4:32; 2 Corinthians 9:7-15 and 1 Timothy 5:18.
- Doing good generally (verse 10, first part). What opportunities crowd in upon us for exercising this ministry! Incidentally, there is a reflex blessing in seeking to help others. We cannot engage in a ministry like this without being blessed ourselves - look up Proverbs 11:24-25.
- Doing special acts of love for members of the Family (verse 10, last part). It is our special privilege to engage in acts of doing good which will benefit those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ - look up Philippians 4:10, 14-18.
2. OUR PERIL AS SERVANTS OF THE LORD
What is our peril? It is that while engaged in the programme we become weary and faint. For example, if you are a Sunday School teacher, how easy it is to lose heart! One version renders this, “Let us not grow tired in well-doing”. This is the peculiar peril of every Christian. Even Paul, in writing to the Galatians about it, included himself - “Let us… ” Why do we get weary and faint? Consider the following practical reasons why Christians sometimes grow weary in the Lord’s work:
- It may be due to overwork. Of course, we cannot overdo our good works, but we might be wiser sometimes to do less work and do it well. It needs much grace to say, “No!” - perhaps more grace than to say “Yes!” There is the danger of “the barrenness of a busy life”.
- Lack of air can cause weariness and faintness. To sleep in a room with all the windows tightly shut, with the consequent lack of fresh air, must result in lethargy. The Christian’s “native air” is prayer. It is our “vital breath”, and nearly always the cause of our faintness is failure in our prayer life - look up Luke 18:1.
- It may equally be lack of food. Just as lack of material food will cause a physical collapse, so lack of spiritual food will cause a spiritual collapse. Doing good is giving out, and you cannot give out until you have first taken in. We must feed upon the Word of God - look up Job 23:12.
- It may be due to insufficient sleep. It is essential that we learn to rest on the promises of God; to fail to do this will certainly bring weariness and faintness - nlook up Psalm 119:165 and Isaiah 26:3.
- One more reason - it may be due to discouragement. This always comes from the Devil. Dr Weymouth renders Galatians 6:9, “Do not lose heart …” If you have lost heart please turn at once to 1 Samuel 30:6!
3. OUR PROSPECT AS SERVANTS OF THE LORD
What is our prospect? It is that “at the proper time we will reap a harvest ” How absolutely certain this word is! No service rendered to or for the Lord is ever lost or will ever go unrewarded - compare Psalm 126:6. The words “will return…carrying sheaves with him” means just that; and Ecclesiastes 11:1 - (notice the words “you will”); and 1 Corinthians 15:58 (notice the word “know”).
What is our safeguard against the peril of becoming weary and of fainting? Look up Isaiah 40:28-31 and Hebrews 12:3. May God give us grace to enter wholeheartedly upon our God-given programme, to avoid the perils which constantly face us and to live in the light of the glorious prospect which is ever before us.
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).