A Christian friend recently struggled through a dynamic that may sound all too familiar to you. He was feeling less-than-godly emotions toward someone but decided to put his faith into action instead. Rather than react to the selfishness of this other person as his sinful nature encouraged him to do, my friend instead decided to bless this person by doing something that the selfish person did not deserve, which also came at a cost to my friend. After doing something he didn’t want to do, solely out of loyalty to God, my friend expected to receive some kind of blessing. Instead, he came down with the flu the next day!
My friend asked me the same question that many of us – including myself! – ask of God: “I did things God’s way, so where’s the blessing?” To quote my friend, “I did what was right, and rather than getting a blessing, I got the flu. So why did I bother?” I pointed out what I blogged about last week – that God is seeking people who follow Him for no motive outside of sheer love for Him. I said that perseverance can only be developed when we continue to follow God despite the suffering. God wants to know whether we will continue to do good, even when we see no payoff. His response was, “The answer is NO.”
Sadly, that’s the same response that many Christians have when they see nothing good coming out of doing things God’s way. When I find myself in the position of no good deed going unpunished, I meditate on Gal. 6:9, which says,
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
It’s not that my friend’s blessing/reward isn’t coming – it just wasn’t instant. We want instant gratification for making a sacrifice to follow God, but that’s not the way God works. Remember that after the crucifixion, Jesus had to get through Saturday before experiencing the blessings of Sunday. Will we continue to do good – to follow God’s ways – during the “Saturdays” of our lives?
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace crying over dropped ice cream. Courtesy Bitmoji.]