Harvest Time!

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Yesterday I wrote about God My Judge.  Then I asked myself: what would I do if tomorrow I had my appointment in that Heavenly Courtroom?  I know that my eternal salvation is settled.  But what about what I’ll be doing on earth during the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, and afterward?  The issue is how much time I’ll get to spend in God’s wonderful presence.  Facetime!  That’s what it’s all about.  The Lord told Abraham:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your Shield, your very great Reward,” (Genesis 15:1, NIV, emphasis mine).

God, Himself, is the reward.  God’s presence is the prize we run the race to win.  Obedience is how we win the prize.

Last words are important.  In fact, the final statements of dying people are so important that in the courtroom the last words supersede all the prohibitions against hearsay evidence.  Jesus’ final words before returning to Heaven were:

Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age, (Matthew 28:19-20, emphasis mine).

Three simple but important instructions:

  1. Go make disciples
  2. Baptize them
  3. Teach them

For some of us the key to obedience was to physically do that first little word: Go.  For me, the people who were obedient to that command to go have always held a particular fascination.  I have always admired their boldness, their spirit of adventure, and their audacious obedience.  And that’s because it is the missionaries, themselves, that are my calling.

Sometimes the commission is not to physically go, but to facilitate others to go.  This can be done by:

  1. Providing financial support—above your tithe[1].
  2. Providing material support. Find out what the missionaries need.  Some need soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other hygiene supplies to give to the poor in their mission field.  Others need Bibles, tracts, and Bibles on flash drives as outreach tools.  Find out what your church’s missionaries need.  It could be something that is abundantly available to you.
  3. Coming alongside them by taking a short-term mission trip into their mission field. It may not seem like such a big deal to you, but it is tremendously encouraging to the missionaries, just to have the opportunity to share their heart’s call with others.  Often missionaries feel like they’ve been forgotten by those at home, and while this may not be true, it is still a very real feeling.
  4. Praying for missionaries—something that everyone in the church can and should do.
  5. When you read the missionary’s newsletter, a few words of support in response can provide powerful encouragement.  When a missionary speaks at your church or group, thank them afterwards for sharing, even just a simple handshake and a smile is very encouraging.
  6. Befriending the missionaries. Whenever possible, either at home or on the mission field, spend some time with the missionary that is unrelated to ministry.  Most missionaries are so dedicated and focused on ministry that they rarely take time for themselves.  So for someone to take time just to be friends is a big blessing.  Take them out for an ice cream or invite them over for coffee, treat them to a massage, go for a walk in the park with them—however the Holy Spirit leads you.
  7. Inviting your missionaries to share their work with the church. Not all missionaries like to speak in public.  In fact, some find it terrifying.  But all understand the importance of keeping themselves actively visible to the church.  And ministries change over time, so the missionary’s report of one year doesn’t necessarily define their ministry for the next year.  For example, the refugee crisis in Europe has caused many missionaries to drop many of their usual duties to tend to the needs of refugees.  So keep inviting them whenever they return home.  It is very encouraging for a missionary to know that people are interested in them and their ministry.

Whether it seems big to you or not, supporting missionaries is very encouraging to them, and it is an encouraged missionary that stays the course.

The reality here in Europe, especially with the recent and continuing flood of refugees, is that the harvest fields are absolutely exploding, but the workers are few.  And, yes, America is facing many of the same issues that Europe is.  If you’re capable of recognizing this, then I sincerely hope that you will do something to help.

The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places He planned to visit.  These were His instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields,” (Luke 10:1-2, emphasis mine).

This is my daily prayer: Lord, send more missionaries to Europe.  And remember:

A wise youth harvests in the summer, but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace, (Proverbs 10:5, emphasis mine).

Wake up!  It is harvest time!  In that Heavenly Courtroom, it’s not going to matter whether you had a big house, a nice car, made lots of money, or were the prettiest woman in your church or at work.  It’s not going to matter if your kids were in all the team sports, scouting, etc.  And God really doesn’t care about all your friendships on Facebook or how many of your tweets were re-tweeted.  On that day, the only thing that will matter is what you did in response to God’s call.  So how are you going to answer that call?

My answer to that question: what would I do if tomorrow was my appointment in that Heavenly Courtroom: I would do pretty much the exact same thing I’m doing now.  After all, we’re not going to be judged on how much we did or how busy we were, but how obedient we were.  To the very best of my ability, I have been obedient.  And I know that I will get my Reward: God’s presence.  God is good!

[1] You should be tithing a minimum of ten percent of your income to your church.  If you are struggling financially, you should consider whether it’s because you’ve been robbing God (Malachi 3:8-9).

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