“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9
So many people want to do what’s right in the world, it’s a wonder we can’t seem to figure out which way is up as a society. Kids don’t grow up wanting to be the bad guy. They don’t dream of being a CEO that closes a plant and puts thousands of people out of work, or of being a money-hungry lawyer protecting criminals from prosecution.
They want to change things. They want to make a difference.
But somewhere along the way, we all get lost, even if only for a while. We get jaded and cold and we start to lose faith in the world we once dreamed of. We forget our childlike ideals and replace them with perceived adult responsibilities.
Eventually, we just get tired of trying to fight the current and do the right thing. This is where phrases like “that’s just how the world works” or “business is business” come into play. We decide that “nice guys (or girls) finish last” so we have to become what the world portrays as successful. With every step we take down that path, the dreams we had die and it gets harder and harder to see the world as we once did.
Why fight it? I believe that all of us have at one time or another felt that every time we try to do the right thing it backfires on us and we get hurt. We lose our families, our jobs, our homes, or our self-respect. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to make sense to keep trying.
I think the people of Galatia must have been feeling that way. Paul wrote to them and stressed the importance of perseverance. He told them not to quit and promised them a reward if they pressed on. But he qualified it. He did not promise them instant gratification (as today’s culture does) or that they would receive whatever reward they wanted (again, that’s a worldly thing). Instead he promised that “in due time” they would reap their reward, “if we do not give up.”
If you’re going through these trying times and have talked to anyone about your struggles, I’m sure they have told you not to give up. Just as I’m sure that you wanted to throw a rock at their head for saying something so trite (I’ve actually tried that, it never ends well). But this time, consider the source. Paul suffered greatly for doing the right thing. He was imprisoned, shipwrecked, run out of towns, and even stoned. Yet he didn’t give up. He spoke with the assurance of one who had seen God, and that gave him the faith to keep pushing through obstacles as he waited on his “due time.”
Most likely, Paul died in prison, but I promise you this: he died with a smile on his face. He knew his reward was at hand just as he knew that it was worth every bit of persecution he ever faced. Doing the right thing wasn’t easy, but he persevered and gave us an example of how we are to fight for what is right despite all of the opposition; we fight no matter the cost.
It is okay to feel like the world is against you because honestly, it pretty much is. What isn’t okay is to give up and give in to the pressure to become more worldly. Just as Paul fought until his due time, we must fight until ours. If you fall, get back up. If you tire, recharge yourself and keep going, and if you just can’t stand any longer, go to your knees. Ask God for strength and wisdom and He will provide it. He will get us back in the fight because it is Him and His truth that we are fighting for.
We do not lose unless we quit. If Paul pressed on through everything he endured, why wouldn’t we?