6 Those who are taught the word must share all good things with their teacher. 7 Don’t be fooled. You can’t outsmart God. A man gathers a crop from what he plants. 8 Some people plant to please their sinful nature. From that nature they will harvest death. Others plant to please the Holy Spirit. From the Spirit they will harvest eternal life. 9 Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up. 10 So when we can do good to everyone, let us do it. Let us make a special point of doing good to those who belong to the family of believers.
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7)
Jesus told a story about a farmer whose enemies sowed tares amongst his wheat (Matt 13:24-43). The seeds look the same. At the right time, the seeds germinate and grow. Then you can easily tell the difference. One will be a fruitful harvest to be gathered and the other will be burned.
In the same way, “good deeds” done to please our sinful nature, such as generosity in the hope of a reward (greed) or kindness in the hope of a good reputation (pride), superficially look like a life motivated by love for God and a desire to please Him. But God wants our hearts.
It can be easy to fall into the wrong motives. I need to actively focus my heart on Him every day.
When a farmer sows seed it looks like he has thrown his valuable seed away, until the right season comes and the seeds grow. It can be very discouraging when the things we have sown into the lives of others don’t seem to bless as we had hoped.
Paul encourages me to sow first to please the Spirit and to be patient as he brings good things from it at the right time. And he encourages me to bless those who bless me (such as teachers) with every good thing: perhaps with material things, but certainly with encouragement and with whatever spiritual gifts God gives me.
Father, how I love you and I long to please you. Please take my attempts at blessings for others and bring them to fruit. And please keep me from slipping into doing the right thing for the wrong reason.
Written by David Cornell