Last week I planted a Mountain Laurel in the back yard. I have been wanting to plant something like that for quite a while but I kept holding off. We used to have some very nice Hearty Bottle Brush shrubs/trees which bloomed with beautiful red flowers starting in the spring and lasting late into the fall. Not only were they pretty, but they were a great attraction for hummingbirds, finches, and butterflies. But thanks to “Snow-mageddon” in 2022 and the “Great Ice Apocalypse of 2023” – those shrubs and some other plants died long ago. Every time I thought about planting something else, I remembered how much work it was having to remove those dead shrubs, and I remembered other times when ice storms or wind storms resulted in some heavy limbs falling onto the fence and breaking several pickets. And as beautiful as those shrubs were, and as much as I enjoyed the birds and the butterflies, I still thought, “Uggh, why bother?” It just didn’t seem worth the effort.
And that is where my mind was, until I read Galatians chapter 6 as part of a daily devotional. Paul writes to the church about the blessing of bearing the burdens of others and bearing with others and doing good. And in verse 9 Paul says,
Gal 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
I think too many times in life when we get let down by a relationship or we do something good and it seems to backfire, it can be easy to become discouraged. And if we let ourselves dwell on those negative outcomes, we can come to the place where we think, “Why bother?” And in our discouragement, we stop planting, we stop reaching out, we stop connecting and we stop doing good. We lose heart. It is God’s desire that we not lose heart or live in a state of discouragement. God desires that His people would continue to do good; continue to do that which is right, and continue to demonstrate love to others. We are called to be a people of trust and a people of hope. We are to plant, to build, to do good, and connect with others, even though there is a chance that a storm may come and seemingly undo all that we have done. And though the storms may come, we are not to lose heart, we are promised that “in due time, we will reap if we do not grow weary.”