Don’t Give Up—Look Up and Live Up – Galatians 6:9

Kevin A. Pierpont
Higgins Lake Baptist Church
6/19/05

Paul writes to the Galatians…

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

The title of the message this morning is, “Don’t give up—look up and live up.” That is—when things get difficult—when it seems like there’s no fruit for all your labor in the Lord’s work—don’t give up—but look up to God and live up to His calling.

 We are celebrating our 50th year as a church and God has been so good in that time.

 But the truth of the work we have before us now—which has been before this church since day one—is a challenging work. It is one in which there is constant change.  It is one where people and culture are constantly changing. We see people come and go through the doors of this church and some stay and some move on and the temptation is always there to wonder what good we are doing when there are so many variables. The question is prone to linger in our minds, “What difference are we making?”

That is why we need Galatians 6:9 today—that is why we’ll need Galatians 6:9 in each day ahead in this precious work in which we have been called to—to glorify God in our lives—to glorify God in His church—and that it may all glorify God in this community to bring others to Christ. So I say to you don’t give up—look up and live up.

As we look at Galatians 6:9 today I want you to be as encouraged by Paul’s words to the Galatians as I am. This morning I’d like to simply talk to you about:

1. what the doing good is that Paul speaks of—and then we’ll see

2. why one might grow weary in doing good and then we’ll look at

3. the promise for those who don’t lose heart.

All of this will help us understand why we shouldn’t give up, but that we should look up to God and live up to God’s calling.

What is doing good?

So let’s think together—what is doing good?

Paul addresses this text to the churches at Galatia so I think it’s easy to see that the doing good that Paul speaks of is that which believers do. And this doing good is the work we have before us as a church.

So what is this doing good as believers—as a church?

Isn’t part of doing good preaching and teaching the Word of God? I think that’s certainly what Paul was encouraging Timothy with in 2 Timothy 4:2 where he says:

2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

Paul says, “teach the Word when it’s welcomed; teach it when it’s not welcomed.” The teaching of the Word is certainly the joyous task of the church. It is the task of your pastor. It is the task of our faithful and hard working Sunday School teachers. It is most certainly doing good.

I think that the highest form of doing good is to teach to the lost the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But there must also be evidence of our love for people in the way we live among them. Loving people where they are, as they are. We certainly don’t want them to stay the way they are but God’s work in the lives of those we minister to is a changing work. He will do the changing. We are to teach and love and let God do His changing work. And that is certainly doing good.

And part of doing good is the help that we may be able to give to someone in need of a meal, clothing a vehicle or a home, but those things don’t last—what does last for all eternity is the Bread of Life. We can and should give help to those in need, but those without a relationship with Jesus Christ also face an eternal need that is only met through Jesus Christ.

So I contend that while there is a need for God’s people and God’s church to be involved in all forms of doing good, the highest calling of God’s people and His church is to do the good work of sowing the seeds of the Gospel—preaching and teaching and living God’s Word.

But if we have such a high calling and precious task why would one grow weary of it?

Why might one grow weary of doing good?

Think with me about why one might grow weary of doing good?

I mentioned earlier that Paul encouraged Timothy to preach the Word. He was to be ready at all times. And that same passage makes it clear that the task isn’t always easy.

Timothy is told to convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering—which is patience in the midst of difficulty.

Teaching and preaching the Word is certainly doing good. It is the joyous task of the church and those who hold teaching responsibilities in the church. But it is also the task of every believer to be ready to teach the Word. It is to be done with the way we live and it is do be done in the form of a verbal witness.

But it is not always an easy task is it?

There will be times of difficulty—there will be times of opposition to the teaching of the Word.

We may find ourselves under criticism.

We may lack support from others in this doing good.

We could fall into the trap of just going through the motions—it’s no longer a work of love—we no longer have a vision for the harvest that lies ahead.

Or we may be tempted to do the good work in our own strength, without complete reliance on God for strength and wisdom to do the work.

And we may be doing good without the faith that God will do His changing work in others—so we’re prone to try to push people in the direction we think is best and we meet resistance.

We may grow impatient because the fruit of our labors is usually not immediate.

And this last one is what we see referred to in the text where we see that there will be reaping if we do not lose heart—if we do not give up.

Think of the picture we get with reaping a harvest. To be reaping there must be sowing, right? But that is not all. What does the farmer do?

He first prepares the soil and then he plants the seed. He then waters and fertilizes the seed and then he must wait for the growth. And he waits patiently for the growth because there is the promise of a bountiful harvest.

I can picture in my mind even now the countryside I enjoyed during a few of the years as a youngster that our family lived in central Ohio. You may have passed through the area of Ohio before where there is nothing for miles but rich, fertile farm land, as flat as a board, as far as you can see.

The farmers there worked the soil with such diligence and huge pieces of farm machinery until the fields looked like black velvet.

And then they would spend large sums of money on seed delivered in large trucks only to go bury all that seed in the ground.

But they didn’t stop there. They would then go spend more money on fertilizer and they’d fertilize those fields where the seed was buried. And many of the farms had huge mechanical creatures that walked back and forth watering, irrigating the soil.

But after all the work those farmers had done I never once remember seeing a farmer going out to check his seeds. I never once remember seeing a farmer digging up his seeds to see if they were growing. That would have been foolish. That would have killed the seed or stunted it’s growth.

A farmer has faith that what he has sown in seed will be harvested a thousand times over in a bountiful crop.

And that is the promise we find in our text this morning.

A promise for those who don’t lose heart

Here is the promise for those who don’t lose heart—this is the promise for those who do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

When things are challenging or trying the temptation is always there to give up. And in the good work of the church there is always a temptation to give up because the fruit—the harvest—is usually not immediate. But listen to Paul’s word in 1 Corinthians 15:58.

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

When you feel like quitting, do not quit. You will reap if you do not lose heart—if you do not give up.

Your labor of good is not in vain. Though your labor at Higgins Lake may have ended some years ago, it was not in vain. And where God has you now, it is not in vain if your labor is for the Lord—if it is a labor for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is not in vain.

Though you labor even now week after week here at Higgins Lake Baptist Church you do not labor in vain. If it is a labor for the Lord you do not labor in vain—it is a good work.

This was Paul’s desire and hope that his labor would not be wasted.

Philippians 2:16 – holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

It’s a good work given to the church—given to God’s people.

And in this passage today is hope for your life. Your life today may not be what it should be, but it can be if you don’t give up, but look up to God and live up to His calling.

We may not be all we could be as a church but we must not give up, but look up to God and live up His calling.

The good work you do for the Lord right now may be tiresome and difficult but don’t give uplook up to God and live up to His calling.

July 4, 1951, Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island. She intended to be the first woman to swim the 21 miles from the island to the California coast.

Long-distance swimming was not new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. The challenge that day was not so much the distance, but the bone-chilling waters of the Pacific. Making things more difficult a dense fog had fallen over the entire area and was so thick she could hardly see the boats in front of and behind her. The boats were there to help keep her on course and to keep the sharks away. Her mother was in the front boat; her trainer was in the back boat with a few others.

She swam on and on never seeing further than the boat ahead. She began to complain about the water—she wanted to get out. Her mother cheered her on—she swam a little further and then she said she was done. Her trainer cheered her on but she insisted she was done. After about 15 chilling hours in the water Chadwick gave up only to discover a few minutes later that she had quit within a half mile of her goal.

Later she told a reporter, “If I could have seen land, I might have made it.” In 1952 she attempted the feat again. Once more a misty veil obscured the coastline and she couldn’t see the shore. But this time she made it because she kept reminding herself that land was there. With that confidence she bravely swam on and achieved her goal. In fact, she broke the men’s record by 2 hours! (bible.org)

Land is just ahead. The harvest is just ahead. Don’t give up. Sow the seed, press on, keep doing the good work. You don’t serve men—you serve the King! And as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6:

1 Corinthians 3:6 – I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

God has sent you out to plant the seed. There will be a harvest in His time. God will give the increase.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.