So the sowing that Paul is talking about here includes what we fill our minds with. We should invest in the teaching of the word that we’re going to receive, and pay attention to what we hear. But Paul also connects sowing to the Spirit with doing good. “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Sowing to the Spirit is not just about taking in the word, but about doing as well.
If we don’t give up on doing good, we will reap. What will we reap? We’ll reap what we sow. If you sow doing good, you’ll reap goodness. Paul mentioned in chapter 5 v22 that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness…” If we sow to the Spirit, we’ll reap the fruit of the Spirit.
It won’t always come naturally to do good, but the more we sow doing good, the more we’ll reap the fruit of goodness. If we don’t give up, but keep doing good even though it’s difficult sometimes and it costs us, we’ll gradually get into the habit of doing good, and it will become more and more natural to us; goodness will become part of our character. When you start to feel weary of doing good, think of the harvest you will reap eventually.
I think it’s also worth asking what is the harvest you’re hoping to reap by doing good to others? Perhaps you keep doing good to one person in particular in the hope that they’ll eventually respond in a certain way. That’s not the harvest we’re expecting here. People might never respond in the way we would hope as we keep doing them good, but that doesn’t mean it’s fruitless to keep going. As we keep practising doing good, sowing to the Spirit, we’ll produce the fruit of the Spirit – we’ll become good.
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone”. There’s a lot of needy people in the world. If Paul had said “So then, let us do good to everyone”, that would be an impossible task. No one here has enough money to be able to feed everyone in the world who is hungry. God doesn’t call us to try to do that. He says “as we have opportunity” we are to do good to people.
In some ways it’s easier to do an occasional grand gesture for those in need. To donate a large sum of money to charity, or go on a mission trip or something, and those are not bad things to do. But Paul is not here challenging us to go out and perform grand gestures, he’s talking about the everyday opportunities we have to do good to the people around us. You might have opportunities to do some big, significant good things for people occasionally, but most of our lives are taken up with more mundane everyday things, and it’s those everyday things that form our character. Paul wants to encourage us to keep sowing those little seeds.
I wish Paul had explained why we are to do good “especially to those who are of the household of faith”. I could suggest some possible reasons, but Paul doesn’t say the reason, so I won’t try to guess it. But I think it’s worth considering that phrase “the household of faith”.
While I can’t say exactly what the reason is that we’re to do good especially to other Christians, I can say that it’s certainly not that they deserve it. Paul doesn’t say “do good… especially to those who are of the household of the morally upright.” The defining feature of this household is our faith. We haven’t earned our place in here. We’re here because of Christ. We’ve stopped trusting in our own performance for our justification before God and put our faith in Christ instead.
And we’re a household. It sounds kind of cheesy, but we’re like one big family. In fact we are a family, we’ve all been adopted into God’s family. If you belong to a household, you will naturally want the household as a whole to prosper. So Paul reminds the Galatians that they are part of the household of faith so that they will do good to their brothers and sisters because they want to see the whole household flourish.