Summer conjures up images of fresh produce. The bounty of hard work yields arrays of textures and colors that only God, the master artist, could create. Much of this edible art finds itself on our plates. With the heat, comes appetites for lighter fare. Lettuce: a simple ball of layers of edible crunch which adds diversity and foundation to other dishes. It’s consumption nourishes our bodies and sustains us to do God’s work. In the same way, scripture accomplishes the same feat-yet goes a step further-nourishment for the soul.
This post is the first in a series exploring the “Let us” verses. These exhortations are meant to encourage not obligate. They are found in the context of “consumption” for our well-being. May our souls find refreshment and be sustained for the walk ahead.
The joyful anticipation of the commencement of Summer break became tainted with disappointment as we walked home from school that day. My fifth grade son and his friend and I sauntered down the sidewalk in conversation as the warm breeze brushed over our bodies; a reminder of God’s never ceasing hand at work.
Our journey came on the heels of the fifth grade awards assembly. You know the drill: outstanding students in academics, athletics and extracurricular activity are recognized before an assembly of teachers, staff, students and parents. My son and his friend did not receive one. Both are smart, kind kids. But they did not fit the criteria for the awards. They understood that. However, a dissonance remained.
“Why didn’t the volunteers for Circle of Friends get any rewards?”
Little did they understand the depth of the question.
Circle of Friends is the name of the group in which they both participated. It’s focus is on engaging students from the mainstream classrooms with students with special needs. Normally these particular students are not integrated into the regular classrooms due to the severity of their disabilities. The group offers a community in which all learn from each other. My son and his friend volunteered for it. My son’s eyes lit up when he shared about his experiences.-building snowmen, going to McDonalds for Shamrock shakes, and enjoying parties together.
During the assembly, most every type of extracurricular activity was recognized. Except this one. Which seemed paradoxical in a sense; given the philosophy behind the group.
But here’s the rub. We don’t “do good” for the recognition.
Wrapping our heads around that reality? Well, that becomes a challenge. Especially when our hearts depend on Earthly motivation to reach out our hands.
Sometimes, the blessings appear invisible. We may not see the immediate “return” on our investment.
Serving a meal at a shelter? May not yield one thank you.
Sacrificing snacks and beverages to the needy neighbor kid who practically lives at your house? May not immediately quench the thirst of a child longing for a safe environment.
Embracing a person in a vulnerable season of life? May not guarantee their back turns away from you at some point.
Extending an olive branch to the person with whom you butt heads in church? May not resolve the conflict instantly.
So while I understood the disappointment tugging at the hearts of my two tween companions that day; even resonated with them, I held a greater truth in my heart. One which can only be learned through experience.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
The truth is this: sometimes we are witnesses to the harvests of our own sowing but sometimes we are privvy to the harvests sowed by others.
The harvests visually remind us of the obedience of its workers; workers who may not be aware of the abundance of the harvest’s yield. When it emerges, it may not even be in our lifetime or in our vicinity.
Ann Voskamp writes, “Believe it: Every tremor of kindness might erupt in a miracle on the other side of the world. http://annvoskamp.com/2015/09/when-you-just-want-to-know-its-all-going-to-be-okay/
So “keep on keepin on.” When recognition fails. When fatigue sets in. When results appear far-reaching. A harvest awaits….if you don’t give up.