I love how Galatians 6:9 ends: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Without that qualifying phrase, we’d puzzle. When a farmer sows, the crop follows a predictable pattern. The “due season” isn’t a mystery: alfalfa sprouts sprout in just 3 to 5 days; corn takes 60 to 100 days to reach maturity. A farmer gets to know what to expect.
The Christian life’s not like that. How long must a wife bear witness to Christ before her unbelieving husband? How long must parents pray for a child who hasn’t trusted Christ? Why does so much sowing not result in reaping? Why do the due seasons seem to come later than we’d expect, if ever?
Paul doesn’t answer the question, at least not directly. He does tell us not to give up.
I’m grateful for this reminder. We’re responsible for our faithfulness; God is responsible for the results. We shouldn’t get confused about this. When we start to take responsibility for the results, things get muddled fast. Paul wants us to know that God can be trusted with the results better than we can, so we don’t need to worry. We need to stay focused on our obedience, which is much less of a sure thing than God’s ability to stay faithful to his promises.
Much has been written about God’s timing. He just doesn’t seem to be in as big a rush as we are. I guess you don’t have to rush when you’re eternal. Nobody fully understands God’s relationship with time. “He exists within time at every single point so that he is present within every space-time location,” writes Michael Bird. “God stands above the limitation of temporal sequences and beyond the limitations of successive moments.” While nobody can comprehend this, it means that God doesn’t face the same time pressure we do. That should relieve us of some pressure. We don’t have to worry when things don’t happen as quickly as we’d like. Our relationship with time may be limited; God’s isn’t.
And so our job is not to worry about the timing or the results. Our job is to just keep sowing even when we feel like giving up, even when we look like our efforts are going to waste. Of course, we’ll get tired and we’ll feel tempted to give up. Don’t. God will bring results from our efforts, even if they don’t come as soon as we’d like.
A Midwestern farmer had a particularly successful year, the best in the county. He taunted Christians for their belief. “Faith in God must not mean much if someone like me can prosper.” One Christian responded: “God doesn't always settle His accounts in October.”
God doesn’t always keep his promises on our timetable, but he always keeps his promises. So keep sowing. Whether or not you see the results, they’re coming. Your job is to stay faithful, knowing that God is faithful to do his part in his time. Just keep sowing. Don’t give up.