Summary: This sermon is about the need for developing patience to wait for the harvest in answers to prayers and uses parallels from my tomato garden. When God is silent and things are not happening, we must learn to stand in faith. When adversities come, as the
Dr. Marilyn S. Murphree Word count 2574
Valley Grove Assembly of God
September 16, 2012
Bacon, Tomato Sandwiches
“Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9
I love bacon, tomato sandwiches. I could eat them every day, but after about four days of them Walter says, “I pass on the sandwich.” I have been waiting all summer for my tomatoes to ripen, but so far, I’ve only had one small tomato, and it has a tooth mark in the top of it where the groundhog had visited. One yellow one is almost ripe, but whoever heard of making a bacon/tomato sandwich with a yellow tomato? Earlier, I was watching another small tomato by the porch steps. It was progressing very well, but a day or two later it had completely disappeared. I think the groundhog that lives under the porch got it.
You might wonder what bacon/tomato sandwiches have to do with today’s message. I think there are quite a few parallels between the two.
This summer has been an exceptionally dry one where the grass has browned out and didn’t need to be cut for weeks. My tomato plants did not do well, and only a few spindly leaves appeared at the first part of the summer. The strawberry plants wilted every day and only produced an occasional berry or two. The entire crop for the green bell pepper plant was one small pepper.
During a season like this, it is easy to get discouraged. Even though we watered the tomatoes, they still didn’t produce tomatoes for a long time. And then they didn’t turn ripe except for one that the groundhog took a bite out of. It is now the middle of September and there are a few green tomatoes, but they are very slow in ripening. I may have to give in and go buy some tomatoes at Whitten’s. We’ll see.
Today’s scripture is one of encouragement for us in spite of how things go sometimes. It tells us “….we shall reap if we faint not.” The first part of the verse says, “Do not be weary in well doing, for we shall reap if we faint not.”
This scripture applies to many areas of our life. Sometimes we pray and pray about things in our life, and it seems as if God is silent. We ask but once we say Amen, things are still the same. A week or so later, things are still the same—at least on the outward surface. It looks as if God has ignored our prayers or that he is not going to answer because the answer is delayed. Matthew Henry once said, “Don’t think that because an answer is delayed, it is denied.” There could be many reasons why the answer has not come yet. We don’t always know what is hindering our prayer.
1. When God is Silent: Sometimes God seems silent in our life. One reason I believe could be because he wants to see if we are willing to stand in faith. Abram had received promises of God in Genesis 12:1. Abram listened to these promises and was quick to do what God told him to do. Maybe he thought that the answer would be coming right away. God said, I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” Abram was quick to start out on his journey. Maybe he wouldn’t even have begun had he known that God was going to delay the answer for such a long time. Maybe I wouldn’t have even bothered to plant tomato plants had I known that it would be such an extremely dry summer that it not produce the crop I had hoped for. Had I known that I wouldn’t have had the first bacon/tomato sandwich until late in September, would I have even bothered to spend the money buying plants at Lowes? Maybe not. During Abram’s journey through the land, there was a famine, and he got sidetracked going down into Egypt. So even if God had made some substantial promises, it was not the best of times or the best of circumstances for him. And God seemed silent a good part of the time. That didn’t concern God. He was working behind the scenes and trying to get Abram to just hold steady in faith and keep right on going. Some other things that occurred during this time was that there was disagreement between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and Lot’s cattle. So Abram tried to get this straightened out and to choose where he wanted to take his cattle and where he would go. He got that straightened out even though Lot took the best land. It didn’t matter to Abram. Then the Lord came back on the scene and said to Abram, “I want you to look to the east and to the west and the north and the south and for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and your descendents forever.”