1 Corinthians 3:6-9
I planted, and Apollos watered, but God made it grow. 7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is important because only God makes it grow. 8The one who plants and the one who waters have the same goal, and each will receive a reward for his own work. 9We are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field.
I have been having this battle with my yard. Lately the yard and weather have been winning. Today, I AM WINNING! I took on a new attitude and we all know that having a good attitude will eventually bear fruit!
We are landscaping our yard, picking up rocks, sowing seed , straw, lime, fertilizer and watering. Right now we are at stage 1-rock picking. Wow! We grow rocks here in Carroll County and if you ever need a rock or two or a ton-just give me a call! I am not kidding!
“Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.
20-21“The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
22“The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.
23“The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.”
Whilst picking rocks today I thought about the Parable of the Sower- a LOT! I thought about how I MUST properly prepare the ground in order for the seed to take root and grow. How do I do this? By picking rocks, tilling and raking up the soil. Laboring. When we labor over something it requires much physical and mental effort. It is also hard, tiring and when done right-productive! How is it productive? Well, it bears fruit by producing an eternal economic gain! Souls in heaven!
How do we get this gain? We must begin with much prayer, work, and strength in God. We break up the ground ( hearts) by softening it and then planting the PROPER seed. Not just any seed, but the Word of God. Not an opinion or what someone else has said, but the undeniable, divinely inspired Word of God. In planting my yard, If I use annual rye seed it will only be here a little while, but if I use tall Kentucky fescue it will be here year round. We must know our seeds just as we must know our bible!
Our hearts must be prepared to receive the Word of God. Our hearts need improving in order to bear good fruit, just like my yard. If our hearts are hard and stony they will shrivel up and die. Some hearts take and some don’t. The reception of God’s Word depends upon the receiver. Are you willing to hear? Are your ears open? Will you live out what you have heard or will it go in one ear and out the other? Many people in churches across the world today, hear the Gospel but it never reaches their hearts and if doesn’t reach the heart it cannot take root. This is seed that never even entered the heart. It was picked up and blown away like the sand on the beach. Whoosh-gone!
1 Peter 1:22-25
Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That’s why the prophet said,
The old life is a grass life,
its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers;
Grass dries up, flowers droop,
God’s Word goes on and on forever.
This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.
Last week we had a couple of major storms. We had just had our yard tilled up and it was looking great! We didn’t tend to it quick enough and the storms washed a lot of the fresh dirt away. I was so upset! All I could see was the time and effort that had already been spent on it WASTED and WASHED away! It was like the sand on the beach-here one minute and gone the next. I was upset for a few days. The ground had to dry out before I could even get back out there again. I tried picking rocks in the mud but that was awful messy. The ground was just not ready yet. I had to be patient. Patience is not my thing. I thank God that HE is patient and longsuffering-unlike myself.
2 Peter 3:9
God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.
Sometimes people hear the Word of God and it just doesn’t sink in. Other times they hear it and their mess is so big they need a little cleanup first. A little raking, tilling and tending to. This is where we, the people who can see and understand what is going on behind the scenes must learn how to be patient, just as God has been patient with us. We’ve all been there. No one is perfect. Sometimes we, too, must develop new attitudes like I had to with my yard mess. Sometimes we have to toil from sunrise until sunset, day after day, for weeks, months and even years before we see fruit in the lives of those we care about. Our toiling consists of prayer, study, being committed to God, serving God and being a servant, even when it’s hard. We learn when to speak, how to speak, when to be silent, when to listen, when to move and how many steps to walk. We do it all under the umbrella of God’s protection, through prayer, bible study, accountability and fellowship with other believer’s. We never do it alone. We aren’t in the business of saving people- only God can do that. We are God’s co-workers.
As I stacked up the rocks in the woods, I thought about how many rocks there are-too many to count. Then I thought about how many lost souls there are in today’s world. The rocks tell the story folks. The rocks represent the hard heartedness toward God that we see in the world today. The work is not done. God has not returned yet and there is time, right now, for you to make the necessary changes in your heart. It’s time for your mind to melt into your heart and be willing to accept the grace that God has saved just for you.
Tomorrow I will fertilize and plant seed. I will also provide a covering for the seed to insure that the birds do not eat the seed before it is able to take root. I must do all that I can to protect the newly sown seed so that it might produce fruit. Water it, fertilize it and scare the birds off. It’s the same way with new Christians-we must nurture them and be there for them in fellowship, study and prayer. When we come into membership in the UMC-we make a promise, as a congregation, to do this for new members. It is a covenant agreement with God-not to be taken lightly.
The Pastor addresses the Members of the household of God,
I commend these persons to your love and care.
Do all in your power to increase their faith,
confirm their hope, and perfect them in love.
The congregation responds:
We give thanks for all that God has already given you
and we welcome you in Christian love.
As members together with you
in the body of Christ
and in this congregation
of The United Methodist Church,
we renew our covenant
faithfully to participate
in the ministries of the Church
by our prayers, our presence,
our gifts, our service, and our witness
that in everything God may be glorified
through Jesus Christ.
So, you see you are never alone on this journey towards God. The members of the Body of Christ ( Church) are right there walking with you the whole way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, for prayer, or for counsel. God is always there and we are his co-workers doing what we promised we would do, to love and care for you and to scare the birds off!
May God’s blessings abound in your life,
( all pics from internet)