Summary: God’s love reaches out to each person unconditionally.
Sermon ~ “I Saw a Man on a Red Old Tractor”
Isaiah speaks about those that the Lord seeks to bring to Himself: “And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord.”
I saw a man on a red old tractor. It was years ago now, when I was on my way to see my mother (who has now been called to glory). It was a sweltering day, coming at the end of a long, very hot spell. The top was down on my cream-colored Dodge convertible. The sky was blue, with big cumulus clouds making it look like preschoolers had been out pasting cotton balls onto the sky. It was a gorgeous day! I was traveling
my usual route on highway 12 when I ran into a detour.
Along that detour I saw a man on a red old tractor. It wasn’t green. It wasn’t a John Deer. My uncle
Silas, who was the national corn husking champion in the 1960’s, thought that the only farm equipment to own wore John Dear overalls. But this wasn’t a John Deer. It may have been a Case or a Farmall Model A, but it wasn’t green. It was red and it was old.
And it was beat-up.
Now I didn’t know if this man on the red old tractor were rich or poor. Maybe that was the only tractor that he had. Maybe he was just scratching out a living on the land with that beat-up red tractor. Or, maybe he was rich. Maybe... maybe he was wealthy.
Maybe back in the barn on the farmstead he had big, new green John Deers–tractors, combines, bailors, and drills. This old red tractor was maybe just a toy to get out and have some fun with. I didn’t know if this man were rich or poor. But I do know this... I do know this: There was no shade of difference in God’s love for that man whether he were rich or poor.
I saw a man on a red old tractor. I didn’t know... When he got up that morning did he have a wife and family? Maybe his wife had made him bacon and eggs and hot coffee, and as he pulled on his coveralls he could smell breakfast waiting for him in the kitchen. Maybe as he left out the door for the field he had children pulling on his pants and shirt.
Or maybe when he got home that evening he went out to the milk house where a tank sits that keeps the milk just a degree above freezing. Maybe he dipped a tin cup into the tank and took a draft of the cold, whole milk to tamper down his thirst. Then he’d go into a house that was empty because he lived alone. I didn’t know if that man lived alone or had a family, but I do know this... I do know this: God loves that man just the same, whether he is married with a family or lives alone.
I saw a man on a red old tractor, and I didn’t know about his past. He may have done something really bad... really wicked... really evil. Or he may have had righteousness in his past. He may have been an elder and was actively serving God and His church.
I didn’t know about that man’s past, but I do know this... I do know this: There’s no shade of difference in the love of God for that man. What ever his past was, God loves that man just the same.
I saw a man on a red old tractor. I didn’t know what his future would be like. I didn’t know if he was an entrepreneur. Perhaps he was buying up farms and someday he’s going to have this large farming corporation. Or maybe he was just a hired hand, lucky
to be living in a small mobile home when he retires... as it sits on the periphery of the farmstead where he’s worked most all his life. I didn’t know about that man’s future, I really didn’t, but I do know this... I do know this: Which ever way it is. Whatever lies in his future, God loves that man the same. There’s no variation or difference.
I saw a man on a red old tractor. I couldn’t see his hands. I saw them on the steering wheel, but I couldn’t see them close up. I didn’t know if they were calloused, worn, and hard because of hard work with bailing twine, mending fences, and doing hard farm
work. Or maybe his hands were soft because he was just one of these hobby farmers out for a day of play.