“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
When I was in elementary school, I was not exactly popular. Oh, not in the least. How much do we all loathe our awkward looking years! I remember there was this girl – let’s call her Debbie – that made my life completely impossible. She made fun of me all the time, and was not shy in pointing out everything that did not make me “cool”.
Yet, Debbie was an…interesting kid. Whenever she would fight with her “posse”, guess who suddenly became her best friend? You guessed it. Me! I remember her saying “see Nathalia, you are a TRUE friend”. I was flattered.
In our “best friend” days, I listened to her talk about her new sparkly-glitter hair scrunchie, how “hot” the Backstreet Boys were, how lame the boys that played with “tazos” looked (oh, by the way I loved tazos. I had a whole collection), and how Girl #1 was totally lying about having a high school boyfriend because nobody had seen him. I was there for her! You know…as much as a 10 year old can be there for another 10 year old.
Yet, when the fight with her “bad friends” was over, guess who became Debbie’s target to mortify? Oh yes. Good girl Nathalia. All of a sudden, I was not important anymore. Thumbs down, Debbie. Thumbs down.
This kept on going until my last year at that school. I said to myself I would pay her back for all her bullying, so I did what any 6th grade daredevil would do: I stuck gum to the back of her chair. She leaned back and placed her hair directly in the target. It was a glorious moment.
Now, note that sticking gum at someone’s hair is NOT something to be encouraged. Don’t do it.
Nevertheless, and back to our bible verse, doing good can get tiring. Believe me, I know. Yet, God gives us a beautiful promise in Isaiah 62:9…
“You raised the grain, and you will eat it, praising the Lord. Within the courtyards of the Temple, you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.”
God promises that all your hard work for Him is not in vain. Though you might feel underappreciated, tired or like you’re going against the wind and barely hanging on; know that you will reap what you sow. There’s a reward for the faithful. God is just, and He will bless you.
On the other hand, you might question that you’re doing things right. Are you really walking as God wants you? Are you really sowing “good grain”? Is your sacrifice and service to the Lord acceptable, true, right?
Now, you might have noticed that in both verses we can see the image of a harvest. Something that can come in handy when studying the Bible is to look for other instances where the same examples are used. Let’s take a look at Leviticus 2: 1-13, which talks about specific procedures for the grain offerings in that time.
“When you present grain as an offering to the Lord, the offering must consist of choice flour. You are to pour olive oil on it, sprinkle it with frankincense, and bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests…Do not use yeast in preparing any of the grain offerings you present to the Lord…Season all your grain offerings with salt to remind you of God’s eternal covenant. Never forget to add salt to your grain offerings.”
Got the recipe? Here it is:
- Only choice flour is to be used
- Pour olive oil
- Sprinkle with frankincense
- Bring to the priests
- Do NOT use yeast
- Add salt. Do NOT forget the salt!
This “recipe” can help us identify if what we are doing is glorifying God. After all, if we are working and trying to walk right, wouldn’t it be good to know that we are on the right path? Let’s see how these ingredients can help us.
1. Choice Flour
Not any kind of flour could be used for the grain offerings. It couldn’t be what was left over. It had to be the best.
Am I giving God the best of me? Or am I giving Him “leftovers”? How am I using my time, my talents and my treasures for Him? Do I only talk to Him occasionally, when I remember; or am I being intentional about giving Him the best?
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil was used to anoint and consecrate someone. If you were anointed, you were “set apart” for a special calling, ultimately to serve God.
Am I consecrating the things that I do to the Lord? Am I “setting apart” my time, talents and treasures for His service? Am I setting myself apart from this world to Him?
Frankincense, used as a perfume and incense, was a very expensive substance because it was collected in remote parts of Arabia, North Africa, and India. To make it even harder, gathering frankincense resin was a very complex and time-consuming process. It could take months to get just a handful of this resin. Nevertheless, even a small amount produced a great aroma and it was one of the main ingredients in the perfume of the sanctuary.
Am I willing to endure long processes and seasons where there is very little fruit, knowing that this sacrifice will produce a sweet aroma to my Father?
3. Bring to the priests
The people could not limit themselves to do these offerings incognito. They had to bring them out to the priests, who would make sure every sacrifice was right and complete. Though we know that Jesus broke the wall of division that separated us from His presence, it is important to have people in our lives who we can be accountable to and who can encourage us, pray for us and help us in our walk. We all have different stories and experiences, so we can learn and gain wisdom from one another as we grow in Him.
Don’t underestimate what you can learn from other believers, specially those who have been walking with the Lord for a longer time.
This verse also implies a sense of considering others in our service to God. We are encouraged to share our faith with others and use our gifts in the body of Christ: the Church.
Do I have people in my life who are walking with Christ and help me in my walk? Do I keep my faith to myself, or am I sharing my faith with others? Am I supporting and serving in my church?
4. Do not use yeast
“Why was no yeast allowed in the grain offerings? Yeast is a bacterial fungus or mold and, therefore, often symbolized sin. It grows in bread dough just as sin grows in a life. A little yeast will affect the whole loaf, just as a little sin can ruin a whole life.” – Life Application Daily Devotional, May 24, 2013
Is there anything in my life that hinders my growth in the Lord, diminishes my service to Him, distracts and takes up my attention for Him?
5. Add salt. Do NOT forget the salt.
If you have done some cooking, you KNOW that salt and seasoning make a huge difference in the flavor of our food.
Here, the people were told that, by adding salt, they would be reminded of God’s covenant with them. We see that this point was emphasized.
Why would remembering God’s covenant be so important?
If we “add salt” to everything that we are and what we do, we will constantly remember God’s truth: His attributes, His faithfulness and His promises towards us. Having this right perspective on who we are in Him and what He has promised to do must make a difference in the way that we see our service to the Lord, and the way that we live our lives.
Interestingly, salt serves as a preservative, a disinfectant, and as seasoning. If we remember God in all we do, we will also be preserved and “disinfected” from this world’s corruption, and we will be able to be – as Matthew 5:13 says – the salt of the world.
We will be able to “season” what has lost its meaning, to reach out to others and impact their lives (not by what we can do, but what He can do through us).
We can live by the book and do good deeds, but if we don’t “add salt” and remember God, we leave out the most important ingredient for living.
Do I remember about God constantly? Do I have the right perspective on who He is and what He’s done? Does He have an important standing in my life?
This is something I know I need to remember. We are weak, but how good it is to know that He is merciful, and He is willing to accept us as we come back to Him! Don’t feel discouraged if you’ve failed in one of these points. Take note, pray, trust and act. I know I will!
Remember God fulfills His promises, and if you are honoring Him, He will honor you. You do not work in vain. Take heart.
Once again: do NOT forget the salt!