I heard a children’s sermon recently that taught great truths. The speaker held up a packet with a picture of a watermelon. He asked them if he planted these seeds, would he get corn. The children looked at him like he was really goofy and said, “Of course not!” “You will get watermelon.”
1. Corn seeds will grow a corn plant.
Next, he asked that if he planted the seeds right now, could he have corn to eat for lunch today. And again they wondered what was wrong with their teacher. They replied, “Of course not!” “He would have to wait for it to grow.”
2. They take time and the right conditions to grow.
…and then he made his point:
- If we plant a seed from a weed, we will not get a vegetable, and if we treat other people in a mean way, they probably will treat us in a not-so-nice way.
- Sometimes it takes awhile for us treating someone nice before they will act nice themselves.
- But don’t give up – what is planted will be what we reap!
Galatians is a letter from the Apostle Paul to the churches in Galatia. There were problems. Various ideas were being added to the basic teaching of Grace and Paul was addressing those attacks. It was getting easier for the church that was so new and so isolated from others to compromise and just give up. They were getting worn out by the struggle.
So let’s not allow ourselves to be fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” Galatians 6:9 (The Message Bible)
There are two key words in this verse:
- Fatigued – exhaust, collapse, weaken
- Give up/Quit – lose courage
Two enemies of experiencing wholeness and healing are:
- Not taking care of ourselves in meaningful ways in all aspects of our being – mind, body, emotions and spirit.
- Getting discouraged and not having the confidence we need to stand for those things that are important.
When we get weary and worn out, it is easy to give up even on the things that are very important to us.
- A marriage gets difficult – it is easy to get give up.
- A friendship gets complicated – it is easy to give up.
- Finances can get so desperate – it is easy to give up.
- Grief can be so heavy – it is easy to give up.
- Resentment can be so hurtful – it is easy to give up.
- Temptation can be so crippling – it is easy to give up.
- Past hurts can be so shame producing – it is easy to give up.
- Failure of keeping commitments can be so discouraging – it is easy to give up.
My wife Angie and I attended the Star of Hope Ministry to the Homeless dinner. It was a grand evening featuring the co-authors of Same Kind of Different as Me, but the testimonials by three of the adults who were helped by the Star of Hope were worth the night out.
“Have you ever felt so hopeless that you couldn’t find a reason for living…” Michele came to the podium dressed in a bright yellow tailored suit. Her speech was quiet, but confident. She began her delivery with: “Have you ever felt so hopeless that you couldn’t find a reason for living, so you lie on the floor in a tight fetal position, waiting for death to swallow you? I have.” The room of over 1,000 people sat in total silence. Michele paused. Many of us had a hard time reconciling what we heard her say with the image of the lady standing in front of us.
Michele was one of God’s children lost to drugs. Her life was crippled and she lost everything special to her, the support of her family, her faith, and the joy of her only child. She was homeless and had no hope. “But God was not through with me. He saw the terrible condition I was in and had compassion for me.” She was alone and feeling very sorry for herself, but with no way out. Then God sent an Angel – her daughter – the last person she wanted to see her like this. “What do you want to do?” All she could say was, “I need help.”
Through the Star of Hope she found tools for recovery from addiction, restoration of her dignity, reunited with her family, new job skills and most of all she renewed her relationship with Jesus Christ. Today Michele has a good job in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. She has a three bedroom home – maybe not impressive to some, that is – if you don’t know that her previous address was downtown under a highway overpass.
But everyone who moves beyond their painful past experiences has to hit a bottom.
One woman, who threw everything away, who was sought by God, when others would not give up, her life was changed for good. Perhaps not everyone will hit the low that Michele hit. But everyone who moves beyond their painful past experiences has to hit a bottom.
- A place where they recognize that what they are doing is not working.
- A place so desperate they are willing to be helped
- A place where total abandonment to the will of God takes on transforming implications.
Most who come to First Place 4 Health do not come because they want another group to join. They come for help. But only those with teachable spirits will find the full scope of help – to mind, body, emotion and spirit. The full range of healing elements are available in First Place 4 Health for those desiring to move beyond the belief that “key blessings” were missed from their past. The full healing may take other resources as well. But our role is to find the courage to do what brings healing to our lives and to be an encourager to others so they will not give up.
We are a community of spiritual encouragers – we do not entertain “give up” attitudes.
Dr. Bill Heston
Dr Bill Heston is Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Houston and is Licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy.