Summary: This is a good message for the end of the summer in that it speaks of accomplishment and productivity over a period of time. Was it a wasted summer or an unproductive life up to this point?
“Making Hay While the Sun Shines”
“...we must do the work of him who sent me” (v. 4).
INTRODUCTION: You have probably all heard the term “making hay while the sun shines.” What does that mean? Does it just mean going out and working in a field? Verse 4 says, “as long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.” The Message Bible says, “We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines.”
Today happens to be the end of daylight savings time, and I hear people say, “It will be dark before I get home from work or it will be dark at supper time. There is no daylight left to do anything.” As summer and fall draw to a close, leaves drop off of the trees, and cold weather approaches, we find that a lot of outdoor activities end for the year. We might say, “I wish I had done more things outside this summer, or I wish I had completed that outside project. Painted the house, trimmed the landscaping, planted some spring bulbs... I wish I had... We might carry this thought over into areas of our life where we have lost opportunities or where we have made unwise decisions. We might say, “I wish I had done that or I wish I hadn’t. I wonder why things didn’t turn out like I had planned? I wonder why?” This gives rise to the statement, “You have to make hay while the sun shines.”--to do things while you have the opportunity.
Today’s scripture finds the disciples in a discussion about a blind man. “Who sinned that caused the man to be blind from birth?” they asked. Was it his parents or his grandparents? What was the reason? The disciples were not really focused on the man’s need but rather wasting time trying to figure out the cause of his problem. It was a matter of theological curiosity rather than compassion. Why did they have this mindset in the first place?
The Jews thought that a person suffered from ailments because of his parents or grandparents’ sin and some of the more philosophical Jews taught a doctrine of the pre-existence of souls where the transmission of the soul of one person went into the body of another person. At any rate sin somewhere was surely the cause of this man’s blindness.
Jesus said, “No, you’re asking the wrong question here. You’re looking for someone to blame. We’ve got more important work to do than sit here and speculate about the reason for this man’s blindness.”
Jesus is telling them it was an opportunity to do God’s work. vs. 3 Jesus said, “...but this happened that the work of God must be displayed in his life.”
Jesus wanted his disciples to move on from the problem to the solution and not dwell on the whys or the blame. We, too, could spend a lot of time with the hard questions of our life. Why the suffering, why terrorism and violence in our country, why suffering and death is happening around us in our world with the anthrax problem. When things happen to us personally, we may get STUCK at the QUESTION stage and never move on to the SOLUTION stage. We ask, “Why did this happen to me? Why is this happening to my family? Why?”
What can we get out of today’s scripture that will help us to “make hay while the sun shines?”
1. The Importance of Being Productive: Jesus is attempting to move the disciples on to a more productive state. He says, “We must do the works of him who sent me.” Jesus included the disciples in on the works God sent him to earth to do. It was not limited to just him. He said, “You, too, must be in on this.” There is work to do today. He knew that his time on earth was short. He was living in the shadow of the cross. The time of opportunity was quickly coming to a close, and He Must help as many blind people as he could--both physically blind and spiritually blind. He knew that there was too great a need all around him to waste his days. He wanted to get this sense of urgency across to his disciples. “Don’t sit around discussing the WHY but move on to allow God’s work to be displayed in the SOLUTION. He says to them, “WE must do the works of him who sent me.” That included all of them, and he was trying to prepare them for the work when he was gone. He said, “You as well as I have work to do and there will come a time when you can’t work because the opportunity will be gone.”