I have recently been enjoying re-run episodes of “My name is Earl” on E4. This is a comedy series in which the main character, Earl Hickey, after having lead a life of a small-time criminal, has a car crash and ends up in hospital. Whilst he is recovering he has a realisation that he has done wrong his whole life and so should expect bad things to happen to him. That’s when he decides to do something about it.
“You know the kind of guy who does nothing but bad things and then wonders why his life sucks? Well, that was me. Every time something good happened to me, something bad was always waiting round the corner: Karma. That’s when I realised that I had to change, so I made a list of everything bad I’ve ever done and one by one I’m gonna make up for all my mistakes. I’m just trying to be a better person. My Name is Earl.”
The concept of karma is well known and widely accepted among unbelievers. The world has come to realise that a life spent doing bad things will have consequences. All that has happened is that a biblical truth has been given a worldly name because the Bible talks of sowing and reaping in Galatians 6.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6: 7-8)
However, I believe it is a mistake to only see this concept from a negative viewpoint. The truth of the matter is that if we persist in sowing good without giving up we WILL reap a good harvest. It doesn’t matter if it is done in secret. God sees everything.
But what about when you have done right over and over again but have had a bad result? This is where we are tested, because the temptation here is to give up and the next time we are prompted to do something for someone we might think, “This hasn’t worked out for me in the past. I’m not going to bother this time around. I’ll just save myself the trouble”. However the same passage in Galatians 6 has this covered.
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)
There are two key points here. First of all we reap at the ‘proper’ time. Only God knows when that is and He will do it when He is ready. He won’t be rushed. The second is that reaping a harvest is conditional on NOT giving up. We don’t want to miss out because we got discouraged when doing good produced a bad result, not once but several times. This is a test and we need to pass ALL of our tests to not miss out on a great harvest.
Be not weary in well doing