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Monday, October 16, 2006
Photo of Amish plow
Hand to the plow

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"Hand To The Plow"

"But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house" (Numbers 12:7).  "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62).

What an interesting sight I saw Saturday. My neighbor, Jesse, was plowing his garden behind two horses. I observed the concentration and perseverance required for both the manpower and horsepower needed to plow a relatively small area. We talked afterwards as he gave me a very important lesson on plowing. Initially in order to get a straight row you must fix your eyes on a fixed distant object. After you have a straight row you focus on the furrow or previous row as you continue plowing.

Many of you who know me personally have often heard me say farewell with one of two phrases; "Stay faithful" or "Keep your hand to the plow."  I've done this for many, many years.

And yet I still mean it.  Our mannerisms are interesting.  Often it takes others to point out something we may not even be aware of; such as the habit I have of clapping once when completing a group prayer.  Mimicking young people, in fun, will point out these repetitive habits as well.  A humiliating reality that can come back to bite is when they pick up a habit that annoys you and then you realize they learned it up from you!

"Staying faithful!"  What a quality.  It's not dramatic.  It's not sensational.  But think with me for a few moments. Consider those who, over the long haul, have been a genuine and enduring blessing to you. Right at the top of the list of their good qualities is that of faithfulness, isn't it?  I'll take faithfulness over flashiness any time.  God said regarding Moses, "He is faithful in all my house".  What a gratifying affirmation to receive from God Himself! 

In a parable in Matthew Jesus gives us a glimpse of what we'll hear when we finish the race.  It sure won't be, "Great job O thou flashy one."  No, it will be "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:23).  And in the book of Revelation we have a recognition of His "called, chosen and faithful followers" (17:14).

Indeed let us "stay faithful" and keep our hand to the plow today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Jesus, it is the desire of my heart to remain faithful to You.  The world often uses the expression, "Be true to yourself" intending that people stand up for what they believe in, but those of the world, by and large, stand for causes and beliefs that often conflict with the holy Word of God.   I know that I also am subject to error and my emotions cannot be trusted, so I with absolute resolve choose to be true to You, rather than myself.  I join with others of the Christian faith who hold unswervingly to the hope we profess even as we spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Amen.

Brooksyne's note:  While growing up I spent a week every summer with my grandparents in Arkansas during planting season.  I think of the yoke Grandpa would put on the two mules that pulled the plow.  The yoke prevented the mules from going two directions and forced them to be a working team providing double the horsepower.  It is essentially the strength of two mules united for one singular purpose.   Imagine the work that can be accomplished for the kingdom of God when we unite in the same way, breaking up fallow ground along the way as we keep our eyes on the goal of our heavenward calling. 

Barn Sing-along

Stephen and I had such a great time of worship and fellowship at the hayride/hymn sing we had Saturday night that we talked late into the night.  Anna Ruth and I canvassed the neighborhood last week inviting people to the hymn sing.  What a blessing to see neighbors sharing together.  People requested hymns and shared reflective thoughts throughout the evening and it was a very warm and edifying experience.   Coming together from many Christian backgrounds to worship the Lord in a large barn filled with hay is a truly a glorious picture of a bit of heaven on earth!

Photo of hay wagon
Prior to the sing-along one of our neighbors took us on a hay ride, including a drive down Mansion Lane where a wedding reception was in progress at the Cameron Inn Estate, an exclusive bed & breakfast mansion. Our hayride must have been an interesting site for the guests to view (at no extra charge!) We also rode through freshly harvested fields.

Photo of barn sing
The acapella hymn sing was a glorious event with people, young and old, eagerly selecting their favorite songs. At one point Stephen stepped out of the barn and heard the singing of what he imagined the angels to sound like.  The crisp night air only added to the festive occasion. During the service one young man stood up and testified how it brought memories of standing next to his father in church as they sang hymns growing up. A teenage boy, after requesting a favorite hymn, with a broken voice shared with us that he had just been baptized earlier in the day.

We concluded the evening with refreshments, including hot chocolate made with fresh whole milk right from an Amish farmer's tank. It was great to see folks stand around awhile visiting with one another.

Photo of Gary and Pat
Gary and Pat are a couple we know only through the daily encouragement ministry. They came last year and again this year to the hymn sing. They're retired teachers from the Washington DC area but now live in Ephrata, here in Lancaster County.  They gave their hearts to Christ in 1972 at a coffeehouse. When they were challenged to serve the Lord they each stood up and independently responded, not knowing at the time, the other was also receiving Christ! They've been serving the Lord together ever since and just celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. It's great to meet different members of our spiritual family.

Finally, I recall another phrase I often used in challenging others to faithfulness is "Are you in it for the long haul?"

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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