THE ‘LET’ OF LENT – Wednesday, March 24th
Read Galatians 6:7-9.
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right,
for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 (NRSV)
Sydney Harris was my favorite newspaper columnist when I was a young adult. I have an old book that contains the best of his “Strictly Personal” columns, but I treasure one particular story:
“I walked with my friend, a Quaker, to the newsstand the other night, and he bought a paper, thanking the newsie politely. The newsie didn’t even acknowledge it.
“A sullen fellow, isn’t he? I commented. “Oh, he’s that way every night,” shrugged my friend. “Then why do you continue being polite to him?” I asked. “Why not?” inquired my friend. “Why should I let him decide how I’m going to act?”
As I thought about this little incident later, it occurred to me that the operating word was “act.” My friend acts toward people; most of us react toward them. He has a sense of inner balance lacking in most of us frail and uncertain creatures: he knows who he is, what he stands for, and how he should behave…1
I imagine we have all asked ourselves at least once, “Why do I even bother?” We enthusiastically teach a class, then at the end of the year discover how little the students learned (or cared). We keep offering to help a neighbor, but our help is never accepted. We ask for forgiveness but receive only silence. We long to befriend someone but it is not returned. We clean up trash along our road, but soon more trash reappears. We do our best to bring good to our corner of the world, but see no lasting results. Are we making any difference at all?
But Jim has a similar story with a different ending. On his early morning walks, he greets a gentleman who sits in the low light of dawn to have a cigarette. For over a year, the man had never replied, but Jim continued to be friendly. Then one day, the man returned the greeting! Since then, the gentleman has introduced himself – and his wife – to both of us! A new friendship has been formed.
Let us not grow weary in doing what is right. Let us keep doing all the good and right things we can, leaving the results to God. Let us keep doing what is right through our calling and our desire to become more Christlike – even if for that reason alone. We may never know what good might come when we do what is right, but we are blessed in the doing, in the integrity of spirit that comes from living this way.
And Jesus will help us to not grow weary. Hebrews 12:3 reminds us to Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. Jesus knows how we feel. Jesus has experienced frustrations, futility, and even hostility for doing what is right. We are in good company with the one who can help us endure and continue.
May we not grow weary in doing what is right, but ask the Spirit to help us persevere, trust that Jesus goes with us, and let every action demonstrate our gratitude to God.
Our readings for tomorrow are 1 John 3:18 and 4:7, 1 Corinthians 16:14.
1Harris, Sydney J. The Best of Sydney J. Harris. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1976. Print.
Bible verses found at https://classic.biblegateway.com