Galatians 6:7-10, New International Version:
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. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Paul, speaking to the Gaulish, ancient Celtic people of Galatia, reminds them not to be deceived. This is a common theme in the book of Galatians for these are a people who still held a memory of being deceived by and oppressed by druids, and now are in danger of being deceived by those who put more emphasis on outward appearances than upon matters of the heart.
I meet good people every day who do good things. I am not always sure of their motives for doing good things. How much of it is about outward appearances? How much of it is from the heart? For most of us our motives are probably a mixed bag of true and good reasons and selfish reasons and so I don’t want to be hard on others or even hard on myself if I find a hint of selfishness in helping someone else.
But these words make logical sense and ring true in my heart. We cannot turn up our nose at God; we can’t fool Him into thinking we are doing good if we are truly just doing things for our own selfish nature. We can justify all we want. But “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). We will reap what we sow. If we sow selfishness, we will reap the fruits of selfishness. If we sow spiritual seed, we will reap spiritual fruit. I don’t have to worry about other’s motives or the seed they sow. God takes care of that. I don’t have to worry if God understands my motives. He does. He knows my motives better than I know them myself. I can rest in Him knowing that He is worthy of my trust and I can get on with doing good to all people. It is the one who sows to please the Spirit that will reap eternal life.