Our family was driving back from Topeka, Kansas a few weeks ago and we passed one of the most ingenious inventions I have ever seen-
a greenhouse shed.
It was a little shed you put in your backyard, but with greenhouse walls. Ta-da!
Maybe not genius, but I thought it was pretty darn smart.
I wanted one. I want to grow my own stuff year-round. I want to eat so local it resides in my backyard. I want red peppers at my fingertips, a lemon tree in a pot, and zucchinis to zoodle to my heart’s content.
I had big dreams looking at that shed.
However, my earthly reality is that it takes all my energy to keep my kids and dogs alive, so growing anything else sounds fun, but plants would likely go unattended.
But that pull is there. We all have a pull to the garden…or at least the farmer’s market.
We have a pull to fresh stuff, better stuff for us, even when we cave to the 9pm giant bowl of ice cream calling our name from the freezer in the basement.
Doritos are fine when you’re 15, but then you turn 24 and realize that fresh has something processed never could offer. We have the pull to something good, not just something there.
Galatians 6:6-10 affirms this natural pull to desiring good, even when we’re fully aware of the imperfect:
Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
There is a natural reaping and sowing of good in life. God designed actions to matter. Karma isn’t a thing, but reaping and sowing is. Sin will have consequences. God is not mocked. He is the author of this whole universe, so He knows best how it’s supposed to roll.
The problem is that good doesn’t always prevail in the now. The good we are drawn to, doesn’t always work out. Sowing and reaping happen, but there’s a whole realm of goings on that we do not see. Good intentions ruined by darkness. Sin soiling the purest of hearts – good discombobulated outside the garden of paradise God created for us so long ago.
Paul isn’t making an argument for karma with sowing and reaping-
Do good, good comes
Do bad, bad comes
If life worked like that, you’d think we’d all have it figured out a long time ago.
Instead, he’s concerned with where we put our trust. Where we hope to find good to begin with.
Look at Galatians 6:8 again:
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
A little bit better is doing good, so that good comes to you.
Freedom is Hope…knowing God is good and that Good lives in us in the Spirit.
The Circumcision Party, the Judaizers, the Freedom Stealers – whatever you want to call them, of Paul’s day – they wanted the Galatians to reap and sow of the flesh, to reap and sow in this kind of Christian karma…
“I do what I’m supposed to (get circumcised). God will love me enough to give me Jesus.”
Paul pleads with the Galatians not to accept this corrupted version of Truth…
We sow and reap the Holy Spirit. End of story. Freedom in Christ. Reap away, because in Christ, it always looks like the Spirit at work –
Love becomes greater love in Christ
Darkness becomes light in Christ
Sin becomes forgiveness in Christ
Does it look like karma-style fair?
No, and that’s what trips us up every time. Shouldn’t we have to do something, answer for something, be rewarded for something?
Paul’s answer –
Freedom to take the opportunity to do good.
Good is better, yes. I love good and I’m sure Paul loved good. Be kind to a neighbor, say nicer things in traffic, help a widow, all that and more. You would never find Paul shutting down opportunities for good. Evil is just that, evil. It’s ugly and we want to turn away from it. So, we teach and we learn and we grow (Galatians 6:6). But all of that only happens by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Word of Life.
Good has nothing on the Holy Spirit.
With hope in the Spirit we’re more than a little better, we’re at the ready, we’re hopeful, we’re faithful, because He is at the ready, hopeful, and faithful.
Freedom, it’s so much better than good.
Hearts wide for Him, reaping and sowing, and stretching our hearts. Freedom in Christ.
What is your favorite thing to grow yourself or to find at the farmer’s market or the produce aisle?
When have you heard the concept of karma used in everyday life? What appeal is there for do good, receive good back, do bad, receive bad back?
What ways do we actually begin to let the Spirit do its work in us? In what ways does the Spirit well up to bring good from us to our neighbor?