An old story has been told: “The devil once held a sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay their price. They were spread out on the table and each one labeled. Hatred, malice, envy, despair, sickness, sensuality – all the weapons that everyone knew so well. But off to one side lay a harmless looking wood-shaped instrument marked “discouragement.” It was old and worn looking but it was priced far above all the rest. When asked the reason why, the devil replied, ‘Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others. No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors that are tightly bolted against the others. Once I get inside I can use any tool that suits me best’” (author unknown).
Discouragement. A harmless looking “tool” but one that can surely wreak havoc on the soul of a saint. To be discouraged means “a loss of confidence, a loss of enthusiasm, to deprive of courage (think of it as dis-courage. Courage means “strength to persevere or withstand fear and difficulty). So when we are discouraged, quite literally we are deprived of the strength to persevere in something and the strength to withstand fear or difficulty. We many not be fearful right now. We may not have a loss of enthusiasm for the things of God. But we all are probably facing one kind of difficulty or another. Do you feel deprived of the needed strength to face it?
To discourage also means “disheartened, to lose hope, to dissuade from doing something.” When we wonder what’s the point of doing that which we know we ought to do, when we question if doing the right thing, as told to us by the Word of God, is even worth it and therefore are persuaded from doing it, we are discouraged.
Is it any wonder, as the story alludes to, that discouragement is such a powerful tool of the enemy?
Is it likely any wonder that the Lord would want to encourage His people to not give up and to not lose heart?
Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 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 6:7-9).
Sowing (planting) and reaping (gathering a crop or harvest; that which occurrs because of the planting) is a principle in the natural world. We see evidence of this all around us! However, it is also a principle in the spiritual world. Sometimes we may forget that it applies to us. How we need to think like farmers! We do not want to be women who are deceived by either being unaware of this principle or by forgetting it! We reap what we sow.
Therefore, we are told to not grow weary in doing good. “Do not become weary” means “do not become discouraged.” Do not become discouraged in the good that you are doing! What you are doing, as unto the Lord, for the sake of His glory, for the betterment of your family, to honor your husband, to teach His ways to your children, to care for your parents or grandchildren, to bless your neighbors, to be faithful and an example in the workplace, to shine as a light in this world, is good.
Are you weary? Remember to think like a farmer. A farmer, in a season of sowing, does not grow weary or discouraged even though the work is exhausting. He keeps his eyeon the future and does not expect to see the results now. He does not get upset at what isn’t happening yet. He knows he is in a sowing – or waiting – season.
Let me ask you again, are you discouraged? Are you looking for something visible or tangible right now in order to feel hopeful, encouraged, or to feel like what you are doing is worth it? We reap what we sow. The good you are doing by faith and as unto the Lord is worth it! At the proper time you will reap a harvest!
A story is told about a pastor of a small church in Scotland who “had been forced out by his elders, who claimed they saw no fruit from his ministry. The village in which the pastor served was a difficult place. People’s hearts were cold and hostile to the truth. During the time the pastor served, there had been no conversions and no baptisms. But he did recall one positive response to his preaching.
When the offering plate was passed during a service, a young boy placed the plate on the floor, stood up, and stepped into it. When asked to explain, he replied that he had been deeply touched by the minister’s life, and while he had no money to give he wanted to give himself wholly to God.
The boy who stepped into the plate was Bobby Moffat, who in 1817 became a pioneer missionary to South Africa. He was greatly used of God to touch many lives. And it all started with that small church and the faithful work of that unappreciated pastor.
Perhaps you see no fruit from your work. Remain faithful! Do not lose heart, but ask God to strengthen you with His power (2 Cor 4:1,7). In His time and in His way, He will produce a harvest if you do not give up (Galatians 6:9).” (David H. Roper, Our Daily Bread)
We need a Barnabas, and we need to be one!