Matthew 9:37-38 – Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (NKJV)
1 Corinthians 9:19b,22 – I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (NKJV)
2 Corinthians 4:1,3 – Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. (NKJV)
There are a lot of old sayings in my memory bank that pop up at appropriate moments in my life. It's a legacy from my grandparents, with whom I lived for twelve years. Recently, one came vividly to mind: "Eat what you can and can what you can't."
This year has been "The Year of the Tree Fruit". After several years of nothing, my five fruit trees all bore bumper crops! It has been delightful to watch all that fruit growing to maturity — that is, until the enormity of my task became apparent. First to come was the Yellow Harvest apple tree — applesauce in abundance. I ate as much as I could, froze more than I'll need, and gave away to appreciative neighbours, friends, family, and church family as much as they would take. Red Bartlett and Yellow Bartlett pear trees came next — bushels of fruit. Just picking it all took days! Then the McIntosh apples were ready. My garage was full of boxes and buckets and as many large pails as I could find. I filled even the recycling bins!
The night after picking, I attended a church meeting, and there was some discussion about getting people back to church and attracting new people to the church. The conversation focussed around special events. After 45 years of ministry and many attempts to entice people to church via events, I have come to believe that that is not the answer. The answer is in deepening our own faith and sharing what God has done and is doing in our lives. That is what people need to hear. My comments fell on deaf ears.
As I slept that night, I awakened with dread, and the next four hours in bed were sleepless, being overwhelmed by the work needed not only to deal with the fruit but also to revive the faith in the church and out in the community! At 4:30 a.m., I got up and continued to meditate and pray on the issue. Then it hit me: they are the same — I realized that I couldn't do it all! The fruit was easy. I had enough pear preserves and apple sauce. The rest of the fruit would be given away, and what was only good for processing would go to the farm to feed the deer. Done! But Lord, what about the other issue? Then, I heard in my heart, "You cannot save everyone. Many will not listen. But you can save some. Go to the ones who are seeking Me. Go to the ones who will listen. It is not my will that any should perish, but they are free to choose life or death. I will not impose My will upon them."
This we all can do, with His help and guidance.
Prayer: Lord God, by Your grace and Spirit, help us to share the good news, that those who are seeking may find Your truth and gain eternal life. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "All Hail To Thee Immanuel" (Lyrics)