Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plow Your Field

I don't even have the book at hand - it's downstairs (which is a far, far away place once you are 8 months pregnant). But this book and this chapter has sunk into my heart and it's taken me a few days to process it.

Our call is urgent! We can't waste time!

"Churches today need to be careful to seize the calling and the work that God has set out for them, the Promised Land they are to possess, because if they don't they may end up wandering in the wilderness for decades."

We have to really evaluate this as individuals and as a congregation. I believe there's sincerity to it, I have seen it myself - churches slowly fading away with great church members, because they won't put in the work to step out in faith.

Faith is seeing a ministry need and doing what we can towards meeting that need... Unfortunately many churches aren't walking in faith because they stop and say, "we don't have enough volunteers or enough money to attempt that". Never mind the fact that God has given us a great commission and a ministry of reconciliation that we are ambassadors for. Never mind the fact that Jesus, in the parable of the talents, shows us that if we are faithful with a little He will give us more... But if we don't do anything with what He's given us, even what we had will be taken away.

I think churches today are in a danger of falling into 3 categories:
1.) The work of evangelizing lost souls is too hard, so let's just seal other church members so that our numbers grow (even though by doing this, they're completely missing the point of being in the Kingdom of God!)
2.) The work of evangelizing lost souls is too hard, so we'll do nothing and hope that by our holiness within our church meetings, God will randomly bring in people from the street into our congregation (even though never in Scripture did the Holy Spirit move to bring revival without the faithfulness of the church or the apostles).
3.) The work of evangelizing lost souls is too hard, so let's make church very appealing and entertaining so we have a big crowd of souls that, should Jesus come to rapture His bride during one of our service, they all would still be sitting there. Because church is great on Sunday morning but there's no eternal value to what's being said or done.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (New International Version)

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sina]">[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Either way, the danger in all of these is that they all miss the point of what Jesus came to Earth to do, what He trained his disciples to do, and what He now expects His church to do: share the ministry of reconciliation that Jesus initiated in Himself with those that aren't reconciled to Him, for which we have now been appointed AMBASSADORS.
to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable: to reconcile hostile persons.
to compose or settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.).
to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent: to reconcile differing statements; to reconcile accounts.

So our purpose is to take people who are hostile to God, who owe God the penalty for Sin, and help restore their relationship (between God and unsaved souls).
  1. a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative (ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary).
Ok so we have the highest authority here on earth other than Christ Himself, we are in this world to live in it and we are sent by One who is Sovereign to show them what Christ is like.

Think about it. We are the highest example of what Jesus Christ is like to those who do not know Him. And our mission is that, THROUGH US, people would turn to Jesus and be reconciled.

That's a terrifying thought.

It's about time we get out of our ruts and our obstacles, our traditions and self-preferences, and seek God for what He wants us to do. He has planted our church in a community He wants us to reach for a REASON. What does He want us to do in our community? What are the specific needs this community has? How can we show them the love of Christ? And from there take off and do it.... No excuses. If we at least start plowing then God will "provide seed for the sower and bread at harvest time". If we do nothing there's no reason to expect God will bring in a harvest that we didn't labor for. And if we're not here to bring a harvest into His field, why the are we here then!?