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Monday, July 30, 2012
Last week my neighbor Eli harvested hay here on Kraybill Church Road. It's quite an operation for one man and obviously he's not too concerned about how the hay stacks on the wagon! (I assume he stops every so often to restack it.)
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"Reaping A Harvest"
"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).
On Friday evening we attended a Missions Banquet featuring the ministry of Bruce and Merly Bundy who have served in Spain since the late eighties. During the meal I sat next to Galen, a farmer friend I often refer to in this series, and we discussed the harvest in light of the dry weather we have had. However the last week or so the rains finally came through and I was interested in his projections for the harvest. He told me that his early planting of corn would have to be harvested for silage (chopping up the stalk and all for animal feed rather than for the grain). Generally the goal is a grain harvest but Galen was upbeat about the rains and the impact on his later corn harvest.
It's interesting the times the Bible uses the harvest as an analogy of our service for Christ and His Kingdom. Four years ago Bruce and Merly came to our home for dinner and fellowship. Spain is a notoriously challenging country for missionaries and we shared together about the inevitable discouragements of ministry as well as the tremendous blessing of impacting others for Christ and eternity, an impact that Bruce and Merly measure one soul at a time.
Great revivals and crusades that present the salvation message impact the kingdom greatly, but just as effective or perhaps more, is the one on one witness of faithful followers. Mr. Jenner is a man who faithfully witnessed in a simple way in Sydney, Australia for many years. He saw very little visible fruit from his spiritual labors, but then he learned only weeks before his death that scores of people had been impacted through his faithful testimony. (Two video links to this story are below and will bless you tremendously.)
Those of us living for Christ are called to impact the world around us for His cause. Husbands and wives are to demonstrate unity in their love for one another. Parents are to raise their children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ministers are to "preach the word". Yet we at times wonder if we are making any significant difference since the harvest we see may be sparse. Some do not have a marriage characterized by love and unity. Some have children who reject the Lord. There are ministers who faithfully "preach the Word" yet see little receptivity.
The perspective we must have is the future harvest promised in Galatians 6:9: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
But we do at times become weary in doing good, don't we? The apostle Paul knew the Galatian believers were growing weary and encouraged them to keep on keeping on for the future harvest. In our "instant gratitude" society we especially have difficulty waiting for "the proper time" for God's blessings to be revealed. Our mindset is more like a lot of commercials selling high priced items on credit, interest free for the first year. They appeal to customers who have the attitude, "I want it and I want it now", rather than save up money for a future purchase.
At times our lives just don't seem to be making much difference from our visual perspective. But Paul reminds us that, "at the proper time we will reap a harvest." That "proper time" ("due season" in the KJV) will most assuredly come. Don't give up! Your life, lived for Christ, is making a difference. Our primary motivation for all that we do in the Name of Christ must be based on our desire to obey Him. A competitive spirit, statistics, people's expectations, or a desire to impress others which stems from a prideful heart can too easily become the drive that misguides our motives and can thereby affect our actions.
But, as always, God works from the inside out. We can't impress Him but we can respond to His love for us. And our love for God must be the motivation for all that we do. "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."
At His appointed time He will bless us with a harvest as we remain faithful in our Christian walk (Proverbs 4:26,27), seasoned in our conversation (Colossians 4:6), and prayerful for those we influence for the kingdom (Romans 10:1).
Remember this very important truth: unlike farmers who expect a harvest at the end of each season of planting our harvest will not be fully realized on this side of heaven. The abundant harvest will be revealed after we have pulled up the stakes from our earthly dwelling here on earth. So hang on, dear friend, the half has not yet been told!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, like Paul who desired that his kinsmen not be destroyed by their sin of unbelief, we too bear a burden for our fellowman that they come to repentance and find salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord. Jude warns us that there will be mockers in the last time who walk according to their own ungodly lusts. We see it with our eyes and it is evident in the news every day. But we are encouraged in our witness knowing that salvation is available to any mocker or unbeliever who turns to you in repentance. Jesus is the only name under heaven by which we can be saved so we proclaim Him who lived among the people, was sacrificed for our sins, was buried and rose on the third day. How we pray that the life of Christ might resonate through our lives so that others might see Jesus in us. It is in Jesus' name that we pray for a plentiful harvest in declaring the gospel through our witness and our lives. Amen.
Saturday afternoon we attended a surprise 90th birthday party for our friend, Paul Simmons pictured here with his wife, Violet, who recently celebrated her 89th. Paul has had some health issues but they get along very well and he still drives them to church each Sunday. They are part of the steady, older generation we appreciate so much.
Ester and I attended a minor league baseball game Thursday night in York PA. We were there at a function for CBMC. After hearing a speaker and enjoying a meal we sat down to enjoy the ballgame. However in the second inning a major storm came through and the game was canceled. However I had a nice visit with Darryl Eyler, who I worked with about ten years ago.
Yesterday we returned to New Beginning Church in Spring Grove, PA where we served in an interim role six years ago. Stephen preached and we enjoyed some great food and fellowship later with friends at the Old Country Buffet.
Another photo of our neighbor's hay harvest.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resource
"Story of Mr. Jenner" Video Outstanding testimony about one man's impact for Christ. (Note: some versions spell his name Genor probably based on just hearing it, but it is "Jenner")
"Jenner's Question" Video Outstanding testimony from his daughter about her father's impact.
"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel" Video Heritage Singers
"What A Day That Will Be" Video Heritage Singers For those who long to "look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace". And for those who long to exchange these imperishable bodies for the imperishable your hearts will be lifted by this old time favorite. The words of this song remind us of the joys of heaven with the absence of sin. A nice arrangement with the gifted voices of the Heritage Singers. (Yesterday morning we sang this from the hymnal and it blessed both Stephen and me so much as we later talked together about the joys of heaven!)
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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