Summary: A sermon about growing in Christ and reaching out to others.
"Let's Not Get Tired of Doing Good"
Recently I read about the time and patience it takes to grow a vineyard.
The first year you plant shoots of vines rather than seeds because these grow the strongest vines.
At the end of the first growing season, you have to cut them back.
And then the second year passes, and you have to cut them back again.
It's only after the third year that you start to see your first viable clusters of grapes.
And even then, you leave those on the vines.
It's not until the 4th year that you will bring in your 1st harvest.
And if you were growing grapes in order to make wine, you'd bottle your harvest, but you wouldn't taste the fruit of your labors until 7 or 8 years down the road!!!
Most vineyards don't reach their breakeven point for their investment until the 15th or 18th year.
As a Church and as Christians, have you ever looked at your own life and wondered, "Why am I not more fruitful? Why does cultivating a healthy crop take so long?"
"I mean, I keep inviting people to come to Christ and to come to church, but I rarely see anyone I ask come."
"I continue to pray for those who don't know the Lord. I pray they will give their lives to Christ; but they still haven't done it."
"I serve others in the name of and for the glory of Jesus Christ, but folks don't seem to care. It seems like all this is for nothing."
"I continue to walk the streets of the neighborhoods surrounding this church building. I knock on doors; I participate in our cantaloupe giveaways, our bottled water giveaways, our free lunch programs, and still...I see little or no growth in the church."
"I know there is a great harvest out there. People need the Lord."
"Folks are lonely, depressed, filled with anguish and despair and I keep inviting them to be a part of God's Church. Many agree that they should or will come, but they rarely show up."
"I'm getting tired!"
"Is all this a waste of time?"
For all of us who have felt this way, had these kinds of thoughts, or do right now...listen to what Paul has to say to us in Galatians 6:9: "Let's not get tired of doing good, because in time we'll have a harvest if we don't give up."
Like a good vineyard owner, God knows how to bring about fruitfulness much better than we ever will.
God is patient with us, and as we fulfill our callings we must recognize that like a vineyard, our fruitfulness will not necessarily come overnight.
The first harvest of our labors may not come for a number of years...
...but if we keep on keeping on...
...that harvest will come!!!
Do you know that Thomas Edison had an amazing 1,093 patents with the U.S. Patent Office, and behind each one of those 1,093 successes were hundreds and sometimes thousands of failures.
Edison mastered the art not allowing failure to deter him.
Near the end of his career, a former employee of Edison wrote the following to his former boss: "Above all you taught me not to be afraid of failure; that scars are sometimes as honorable as medals."
I would add that, especially in the Christian life, scares are just as honorable as medals!!!
After-all, it is not we, you and I, who do the convicting within a person's soul.
It is not we, you and I, who save a person's soul.
Jesus does that.
We are called to sow seed.
We are called to work in the harvest field.
It's between God and the people we touch and meet and invite--whether or not they will ever take God up on God's offer made through us to come to Christ, to be a part of the Church--to allow God to transform their often reckless, dark, lonely and despairing lives into something new and vibrant, and alive by accepting Jesus' free gift of salvation!!!
Our job is to never get tired of sharing the message through both word and deed!!!
We are called to press on.
Be the hands and feet of Christ.
So, you might want to give the evangelism team another go.
This is where we plan events; pray for ideas to bring others to Christ and into the church.
We meet every Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.
The next time we have an event, such as handing out flyers in the neighborhood, giving out free cantaloupes, washing cars for free, handing out homemade bread, having a prayer walk...
...join us, "because in time we will have a harvest if we don't give up."
And, perhaps the next thing we do will have been an idea planted in your mind by God!!!