Illustration results for Reaping
Late one summer evening in Broken Bow, Nebraska, a weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. The waitress had just served him when three tough looking, leather jacketed motorcyclists - of the Hell’s Angels type - decided to give him a hard time. Not only did they verbally abuse him, one grabbed the hamburger off his plate, another took a handful of his french fries, and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it. How would you respond? Well, this trucker did not respond as one might expect. Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.
When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, "Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?" She replied, "I don’t know about that, but he sure ain’t much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot."
It was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived and everything was alive with color. But a cold front from the north had brought winter’s chill back to Indiana. I sat with two friends in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town squire. The food and the company were both especially good that day. As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There,
walking into town, was a man who appeared to be caring all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read "I’ll work for food." My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him.
Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back into my car. Deep within me, the spirit of God kept speaking to me: "don’t go back to the office until you’ve at least driven once more around the square." And so with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square’s third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the storefront church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from god: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town’s visitor. Looking for the pastor? I asked. Not really, he replied, just resting. Have you eaten today? Oh, I ate something early this morning. Would you like to have lunch with me? Do you have some work I could do for you? No work, I replied. I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to! Take you to lunch. Sure he replied with a smile. As he began to gather his things, I asked him some surface questions. Where you headed? St. Louis. Where you from? Oh, all over; mostly Florida. I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark and clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is the never ending story." Then Daniel’s story began to unfold. He had seen rough times earl in life. He’d made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a big tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God. Nothing’s been the same since, he said, I felt the lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now. Ever think of stopping? I asked. Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But god has given me this calling. I give out bibles. That’s what’s in my sack. I work to buy food and bibles, and I give them out when the spirit leads. I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a minute and then I asked: what’s it like? What? To walk into town carrying all your things on your back and to show you a sign? Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn’t make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people’s concepts of other folks like me. My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned and said," come ye blessed of my father and inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in." I felt as if we were on holy ground. Could you use another bible? I asked.
SOWING THE SEED: A COMPARISON
In the 13th Century, Nicolo Polo (father of Marco Polo) was visiting the court of the grandson of Ghengis Khan - Kublai Khan.
Kublai Khan was the Emperor of China and he had never met Europeans before. He was delighted to meet this visitor from Venice AND he was strongly impressed by the religious faith of this man; therefore, he sent a letter back to Europe urging that some educated men be dispatched to instruct his people in the teachings of Christianity.
But, because of political upheaval and infighting that was taking place in Europe, there was a long delay in anybody coming. In the end, only 2 representatives of Christianity were sent and even they lost heart soon and turned back.
Because of the failure of the church of that day, Kublai Khan turned instead to Buddhism and that has been the predominant religion in the area from that day to this.
By contrast, just last Sunday, we baptized a father and son into Christ – Bill & Isaac. Bill was not the most promising of candidates for salvation. Most people pictured him more as the stony or weedy soil. He’s lived a hard life and had held God at bay for a number of years. His wife had faithfully planted seeds in his life, as have others in this congregation. But until last Sunday it seemed fruitless. But now he’s surrendered to Christ, and tonight he’s bearing fruit.
In Bill’s neighborhood, there have been a number of boys that Bill had created a “paintball” club for. But once Bill gave himself to Christ, he wanted to give Christ to these young boys he’d been working with. Three of them are being baptized tonight, and more may be turning to Christ in the near future.
SOURCE: Jeff Strite in "You Can’t Reap them All" on www.sermoncentral.com
BY THE SEEDS YOU PLANT
"Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."...
SOWING AND REAPING
There is a famous (and doubtless apocryphal) story about Horatio Bottomley, the politician and convicted fraudster, who was stitching mailbags in prison when a chaplain caught sight of him.
"Sewing, Bottomley?" said the priest.
"No," he replied. "Reaping."
So too all of us, sooner or later.
("The Times", London)
A WORRY SATIRE
Luke 12:22-34 (New Revised Updated Modernization Version for the E-Pad with notes) (NRUMVEPwN)
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, about evil people hurting you your family, or random biological terrorist attacks, or how the stock market will do. 23 Life is more than safety and security, and happiness is more than what does or does not happen to you. 24 Consider the Amish: They sow and reap without modern technology and God feeds them and protects them. And how much more of a tempting target are you than the Amish! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 "Consider how the Kardashians grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes people who are absolutely worthless in society, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on getting filthy rich or being physically perfect; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor on Craigslist. Provide purses for yourselves made out of duct tape that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I heard Mike Reynolds, then the Director of Utah Missions, at a meeting in South Carolina telling about leading a Mormon to Christ the first time he witnessed to him. It was such an unusual experience for Mike that he began asking questions about others who had witnessed to the man. He then said, “Something like nineteen other people had witnessed to him before I did.”
“Something like nineteen other people” who had witnessed to him may not know he has professed faith in the Jesus of the Bible. “Something like nineteen other people” may be frustrated because they have not seen the results of their efforts. The truth is, only God knows all the results of all our efforts.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
“A Sword and a Tear!” 2 Timothy 2: 22-26: Key verse(s): 24-25a “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth”
It was a clear-cut case of guilt and punishment. As I was paging through the pages of the magazine I ran across an article about a special judge in Alabama. He held court in a juvenile justice courtroom much like any in this country. Daily dozens of sad cases paraded before his bench. Robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, rape, car theft, shoplifting; this was the daily dose of humanity that seasoned his venue. Boys and girls who had made that one terrible mistake and those that had had occasion to stand before his bench before. According to the article, over the years this one judge had heard literally thousands of such cases. Many of those who had committed these crimes had ended up in the state’s juvenile prison system as this particular judge was not timid in applying the rule of law liberally when it came to sentencing. Passing through this judge’s courtroom was no picnic and few forgot his application of the punishment fits the crime. But, the article continued, many would sooner remember the judge himself than the punishment they so rightly deserved. For, you see, this judge was a man of great mercy. Although he held the sword of justice in his right hand, he always seemed far more comfortable embracing the staff of mercy with the other.
The article focused in on once recent case where a young man had committed a rather serious crime that would bring with it the staunchest of punishments. When it came time for the sentencing, the convicted juvenile stood before the bench with his parents and lawyer standing gravely beside him. The judge solemnly reviewed the nature of the crime, repeating word for word the dreadful details of the act. Addressing the lawyer he reiterated what was already a given, the sentence would be ample and there would be no leniency. The law would not allow it. Then, a remarkable thing happened (something that happens daily in this courtroom), while parents and child hugged and cried the judged removed himself from the bench and embraced the threesome. The hug was not long but it would always be remembered. Despite his willingness to punish, this judge did so in mercy and love. Knowing that the law requires punishment, he was never unwilling to confront those who had transgressed with the cold, hard consequences of criminal behavior. Nevertheless, so that every offender knew that forgiveness was also a part of the bargain, this judge wanted every young girl ...
Some timber producers have to wait up to 180 years to produce a harvest! That means the planter will never know the great grandchild who reaps the harvest, and the harvester will never know the forefather who planted the seed. The future depends on the foresight and patience of each generation.
The Believer should live like that. We don’t know when the Lord will return, but it’s a sure thing and we can live like it. When we focus on the certainty of Christ’s return, and the hope that brings, we can wait for the Lord and endure hostility.
"… we all have adversaries or opponents toward whom we feel animosity.
He may be the owner of a competing business who’s stealing your best customers, and if you’re honest, you’ll admit that you hate him for putting your livelihood in jeopardy. She may be a colleague who’s fighting against you - all too successfully - for bonuses and advancement. He may be a midlevel executive who’s firmly entrenched above you in the corporate structure, and you resent him because he’s blocking your way to the top.
If you’re management, your adversary may be the union, or vice versa. Your enemy might be people who hold opposing views on abortion or homosexuality, and you’ve gone beyond disagreeing with their opinions to despising them as people. It might be a teacher who refuses to cut you any slack. Or the girlfriend who broke your heart. Or the father who stunted your self-esteem. Or a former friend who broke your confidence and spilled your secrets to the world. Ot the ex-spouse who trashed your marriage. Or the recalcitrant employee who just won’t get on board with your policies. Or the classmate whose popularity eclipses yours. Or the colleague who is reaping all the recognition that you deserve."
Lee Strobel, God’s Outrageous Claims, pp. 10-11