Barber reminds Southwestern community not to grow weary in doing good during chapel message

Elizabeth Bennett
| Sep 30, 2022

Keep doing what is good even when ministry is tiring, preached Bart Barber, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, during his Sept. 29 chapel message at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Texas Baptist College.

In his introduction of Barber, Interim President David S. Dockery described the two-time Southwestern graduate as a “historian, theologian, and remarkable pastor.” 

Barber said Galatians 6:9, the text for his sermon, is a verse that he needs daily as it is filled with wisdom that will help in one’s personal life. “Life will give you reason to have to persevere and fight, not to lose hope, and not to grow weary,” Barber said. 

First, Barber encouraged the assembly “to not lose heart because what we are doing is something that is good,” while noting the sin nature all humans. “We emerge from the womb, equipped to do bad. We are constantly presented with the opportunity to do bad. Not even because we are malevolent, but just because we are fallen and imperfect,” he said. 

A farmer with agricultural roots back to his teens in Future Farmers of America, Barber said in classes he learned how farm equipment can be harmful if not used properly. “What they did not tell me in ag class was that I could always destroy the equipment. Even when we are trying not to do harm we do, because we are fallen and broken,” he said.

“The fact is that even when we are trying not to do harm, because we are fallen and imperfect we lack wisdom. We lack efficiency. We are people who do bad and leave bad in our wake in spite of ourselves and sometimes on purpose.” 

Barber said this “is why it is such a precious gift that God powers and equips us to do some good. How beautiful it is, to think that God has made you to be someone who can do some good things while you’re here.” He told the students, faculty, and staff, “How amazing it is that we are able to do good. Don’t take it for granted.”

Secondly, he said, in doing good, there will be a harvest to reap. Barber compared what a farmer does to prepare for a harvest to what God does to produce good things in ministry and life. “We work to make sure they will be met with God’s grace by doing things that are good that promote the eternal good of the Gospel and other people around us,” he said.

Barber explained that harvest comes later and requires faith and hope to see it. “Even when there are tares sewn in the midst of the wheat, still a harvest comes with good things that we will be able enjoy and be nourished by. … Even in the midst of trials and adversaries, by God’s grace, there is enough to keep us going,” he said.

Barber described his longtime connection to Southwestern as a student, alumnus, trustee, and now as SBC president, noting his involvement in those roles during seminary presidential transitions. He said that each of the four presidents “planted seeds that shaped me” and he encouraged the assembly to remember the good each did. 

“The secret of good farming is not to focus on the weeds. … It’s always to see the harvest and never lose sight of the reaping,” he challenged.

The message was concluded by Barber describing the difference between being tired and being weary. He told a story about how he had to make a nine-hour drive home from college during the night to get ahead of incoming weather after two sleepless nights of study. He explained that night how even when he was at his most tired point he was not weary of the journey because of what he was anticipating at home. 

“The circumstances of life can make you tired, but you get to choose whether you’re going to be weary or not,” he concluded. “We are commanded by the Lord, not to grow weary in the good that we are doing. Not to lose heart. Not to lose sight of the wonder of it all -- that God would count you worthy and put you in the ministry and let you do things that change the world.” 

Barber has been pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, since 1999. He was elected in June as president of the Southern Baptist Convention during the annual meeting in Anaheim, California. Barber earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University and both the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Southwestern Seminary. 

Barber’s entire sermon can be viewed here.

Chapel is held every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 10 a.m. (CT) in MacGorman Chapel on the campus of Southwestern Seminary and TBC. Chapel may be viewed live at swbts.live.