The Christian life is, as Eugene Peterson so eloquently put it, “A long obedience in the same direction.” It is a marathon, not a sprint and the finish line is that day when we meet Jesus face to face.
But, there are times of fatigue. Times when we just want to take a break, withdraw into ourselves and put aside our long obedience for a while. After all, it takes energy and discipline to keep going in a marathon and in this quest to follow Jesus. All of us have the temptation to slow down in our followership, take a break from the race and focus on what we want rather than on what God wants. Besides, people let us down, even fellow believers. It is easy to become discouraged and tired.
I think this is a special temptation as we age, thinking, we have done our time, done our ministry and now we can relax. Actually it is in these years when we have the most to offer given our experiences and history. It is not the time to slow down in doing good. It is the time to continue our long obedience in the same direction.
This is why Paul writes to the Galatian church with these words during those times when we are tempted to slow down in our long obedience. “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” (Galatians 6:9-10).
I find Paul’s words helpful here. He wants us to continue to do good and not give up in doing good for all people but especially those who are believers - our spiritual brothers and sisters. One of the things that Christians should be known for is Tov - the Hebrew word for goodness. Unfortunately that is not always the case. In fact, the amount of vitriol and unkindness among believers can be very discouraging. Just read social media.
But you and I should be known by our goodness and kindness toward others. Acts of kindness toward one another is a character trait of God whose kindness toward us is never ending. When we engage in acts of goodness toward others we follow the example of Jesus who never tires of blessing us in too many ways to count.
This week, think about how you can practice Tov or goodness toward those around you. In fact, pray daily that God would give you at least one opportunity to do good to others in practical and tangible ways. Paul says that if we do, “at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.
Don’t quit. Keep going and you will be blessed as you bless others.