5/23/18 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
Last Sunday our team that recently returned for a missions trip to Hungary gave the church family an update on their trip. I have to admit, it was fun reliving our experiences. We talked about our day in Budapest, as we toured the city with all of its history and culture. They shared about the differences in our food and theirs. They talked about the work project and how their efforts would help create more beds for summer campers and more housing for college students to attend the Bible Institute.
But really what impacted us the most were the people. I had the honor & privilege to teach the Bible to college students from 15 different countries. Our team got to interact with these students on the work site, during meals, in devotions, and just hanging out during free time.
One of the students in my class was a converted Muslim. He asked that we not put his picture on social media, because if his family found out where he was, they would have him killed. He is preparing to go to Morocco, to share Christ in a country that is steeped in Islamic beliefs and culture. We met a girl from Serbia who has two brain tumors, yet she is there studying so she can go back to her country and share Christ. Another girl from Bosnia was hated by her father because he had wanted a son and would later abuse her.
God helped this young lady to forgive her dad, so now she is studying the Bible so that she can win her family to Christ. Without the support of her family, she came to the school not knowing how she would pay for it. As we listened to her testimony and how God had faithfully provided for school, God moved in the hearts of our team to finish paying off her school bill, so she will graduate debt free.
As I listened to the stories, I was reminded that this team was raised up for such a time as this. Not only do they all want to go back to serve again in 2019, more importantly, I believe God used this experience to expand their spiritual vision. Some of them may have felt a bit like Jesus’ disciples felt during their time in Samaria.
Many of you know the story in John 4, when Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. Jesus is thirsty, so He asks for some water to drink, and ends up giving the woman a different kind of water… “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
Just like our missions team on Sunday, this woman couldn’t hold back what she had experienced, she had to tell people what had just happened… Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” John 4:28-29
Jesus, the master story teller, used His surroundings (grain growing in the fields) and turns it into an object lesson to teach His disciples a very important lesson: the urgency of reaching the lost.
The Samaritan woman is returning to the well, and she is not coming back alone, many other Samaritans are coming with her. So, Jesus tells His disciples… I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35
As the disciples looked up, they would have seen many Samaritans walking toward them. Their white clothing would have been a stark contrast against the brilliant green of the ripening grain. The people walking would have looked like white heads on the grain stalks blowing in the wind. White heads on the stalks that would have indicated it was time for the harvest.
Judy’s dad was a farmer, often he would be the one that would sow the seed in the spring. As the sower, Judy’s dad would also reap the harvest in the fall. But in God’s economy, many times that is not the case. Paul would remind the church in Corinth that just because you sow spiritual seed, does not mean that you will be the one to harvest it… I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
In the past, others, including Moses, John the Baptist, and most recently Jesus Himself, had sown spiritual seed in the lives of the Samaritans. Yet on this day, the disciples would reap the harvest from the labor of someone else. That is what our team did in Hungary, although we did not knowingly reap any harvest, we were there preparing the field so that the seed could be sown. Later, people would be able to harvest the results of seeds sown. There is no doubt that the team from Center Barnstead Christian Church was created for such a time as this.
At another time in His ministry Jesus would tell His disciples… “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38
If you are a Christian, please understand, you are the answer to the disciple’s prayer. God has created you to be a laborer in the harvest, for such a time as this. You might sow, or you might have the great experience of being involved in the harvest. Either way, we are to be involved in His harvest field. If you make that choice, like the Samaritan woman, like the people from our church did, you too will be blessed beyond measure.
May the words of this song by Wayne Watson encourage you as you fulfill the very things that God created you to do, or, may it challenge you if you are not…