Wednesday, December 11, 2013

White Fields

"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,
Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?
Then said I, Here am I; send me."
Isaiah 6:8
(KJV)

The other day, as we took a drive down a country road,
I looked over and saw a beautifully white cotton field....
ready to harvest.


The first thing that came to my mind are the words of our Lord,
"...behold, I say unto you, 
Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest..."
John 4:35
then, 
"The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: 
pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, 
that he would send forth laborers into his harvest."
Luke 10:2

As I looked on the field, I thought of all the work it would take to clear that field.
To harvest every last bit of cotton.
With today's conveniences, it is not a big deal.
In days gone by, it required hour upon hour of hard, manual labor.
The work, back then, must have seem endless, the task daunting and insurmountable.

It is easy to become overwhelmed when we look at the big picture.


When we take in the whole white field at one time and realize our own limitations
the first impulse is to just do nothing.
To throw up our hands.
To go with the flow.
To float downstream with the current.
To desert our post and go AWOL, deciding it isn't possible to make a difference....
in our little part of the field.

Doing nothing is not an option, my friend.

Evil thrives when good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke

White fields demand attention.
Otherwise the ripened harvest will be lost...and go to ruin.

We must roll up our sleeves, put on our work gloves, and go to work...
doing what we can do....submitting to God what we can't.
Breaking it down into doable portions is the key.
Our contribution to the whole may seem very small, even insignificant.

But, is it?

Back in the old days,
the cotton field we saw would have been harvested...one stalk at a time.
Every laborer was important...needful....necessary...
and was sorely missed when they weren't there...at their individual spot.
If one cotton-picker was absent, another would have had to pick up the slack....
picking their own row, as well as taking on the row of the missing laborer.

If we walk away and leave our spot in the field, who will pick up our slack?
What if there is such a shortage of laborers that there is no one to step up and take our place?
What if the laborers are already stretched so transparently thin...
that they cannot...physically or emotionally handle taking on one more task?

There is a spot in the field for each one of us.
You have something very unique to contribute to the harvesting process.
Your background, life experiences, individual talents, and God-given gifts are yours....
and yours alone.

How often do we look at another and wish we were as gifted as they are?
We are quick to recognize our own inadequacies,
often using them as excuses for not doing the right thing,
and we feel the task could be better and more efficiently accomplished by someone else.
We size one another up, measuring ourselves among ourselves,
which the Bible says is not wise.  2 Corinthians 10:12
And who knows?
The person we most long to be as well-versed and capable as
may be feeling as inadequate as we do.
Just because we feel we cannot do a certain task as well as another person
does not in any way absolve us from personal responsibility.
Each of us will give an account to God of our own stewardship....
how faithfully or not so faithfully we harvested our spot in the field....
how diligently or not so diligently we maintained our "row".

God gave each of us rare gifts.
Don't downplay your own, just because you wish for the talents of another.

God designed His Kingdom to include every person in it,
and He has called and gifted us accordingly.
He has placed you in "the field" exactly where you are.
The dynamics of your current situation were put in place by God's design.
The circumstances in which you labor may not be the most comfortable,
the ones you minister to may not be the most supportive or even the most pleasant,
but you are not where you are by accident.

Today, we started Zachary's latest literature book,
"Through Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot.

Wow!
I am beyond challenged already, after only reading the first chapter with him!
I can't wait to continue reading it.
There were excerpts in the first chapter that were found in Jim Elliot's diary,
then published later by his wife, Elisabeth, who wrote the book.
His words are profound, still relevant all these years later,
and they stirred something deep inside of me
As we read, I began highlighting certain sentences that moved me the most.
One of them said this,
"Wherever you are, be all there.
Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."

So, where are you, my friend?
Where in the Kingdom has God placed you?
With what circumstances do you find yourself encompassed?
In what family are you a member?
Where do you attend church services?
Who is your pastor?
Are you supportive or critical of church leadership?
Are you doing your part?
Who stands in the field next to you?
Would you say they are cooperative or difficult to work with?
Do they pull their weight?
Do you?

It may be very difficult to stand firm at our posts of duty.
We may stand in the heat of the day, toiling until we feel we can toil no more...
all with little or no visible results of our diligence.
We may look around, see white everywhere we look, and feel overwhelmed and unequal to the task.
Perhaps those who should have our back and pull their weight are slacking off
to the point that we are feeling the need of picking up their workload and adding it to our own.
We may feel stretched entirely too thin...to the point of breaking.
The temptation is always there to turn back and walk away.

But, who said this was going to be easy?

"God promises a safe landing, but not a calm passage."
Bulgarian Proverb

Look at our Example.
Take a look at the cross...and everything about His earthly life up to that point.
What about His trek on earth could be classified as "easy"?
I have studied His life...His ministry....His heart...extensively.
The word "easy" does not conform to any part of Jesus' life and/or endeavors.

He was fought on every level.
He had zero support when He needed it the most.
He poured His heart and soul into teaching men
who slacked and slept while blood oozed like sweat from His pores.
He worked hard doing manual labor as a common carpenter,
before starting His earthly ministry.
He had no dwelling or place to lay His head.
He fearlessly, unflinchingly reached His hands to heal the untouchables.
His time was never His Own.
He was torn, pulled, and over-extended relentlessly.
He fed thousands who only cared about the food.
He was scorned, rebuked, rebuffed, and persecuted by the religious leaders.
The very ones who should have lent the most reinforcement to His efforts,
were the very ones who threw everything they had into tearing them down.

Looking closely at the pervading circumstances in which Jesus ministered
will make any of our current circumstances appear very doable and tolerable....
no matter how hard they be...wouldn't you say?

The fields are white.
Ready to be harvested.
Souls are dying...all around us....every day....who don't know Jesus.
Maybe they just need to see Christianity that is real.
Perhaps they are tired of the false pretense and hypocrisy.
Maybe they just need you....to show them the way.


Live in a way that those who know you but don't know God
will come to know God because they know you....
one of my favorite primitive signs in our home.

How else will they come to know Him, other than to see Him in action....
in you and in me?

The ones in your life are in your surroundings, not mine.
The souls in my circle are here, not there.
You can reach those that I will never be able to reach, and vice verse.
You have opportunities that are available exclusively to you.
Solitary missions on which only you can go.
God planned it that way.
He had His hand on you while you were in your mother's womb.
He has orchestrated the path on which you walk,
placing you in the family and church family of His choice,
and bringing you to your particular spot in the whitened field.

I went past a local cotton field today, and most of the cotton has been harvested.
It is bound in huge round and square bales...
sitting, ready for someone to pick up and take to a factory
where it will be made into something useful.

How many people around you and around me possess great potential for God's use?
Maybe they just need a little help...
a little mentoring....
a little encouragement.

We met a young man today who impressed me from the moment we walked in
to the restaurant in which he works.

He was friendly.
Efficient.
Mannerly.
Respectful.
Different.
And his name was Zach.  :)

When we got ready to leave,
I paid him a compliment.
His face lit up, and he told me of how he used to work with his dad in construction
and how his dad had taught him to treat people.

"I want to get a new job" he said.
"I want to get out of here."

I told him he never knows what is up around the bend,
but I know things are going to work out for him if he stays the way he is.

Everyone can use a kind word.
Think of how much it means to hear one yourself.
They are sometimes rare and far between.

Jesus needs laborers.
The cry still goes out...loud...and clear....and heart-wrenching.
"...behold, I say unto you, 
Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest..."

"The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: 
pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, 
that he would send forth laborers into his harvest."

May the response from every one of our lips be as that of Isaiah,
"Then said I, Here am I; send me."


2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this wonderful encouragement. You are truly right.
    God bless you more:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. God bless you, my dear friend and encourager! May your Christmas be happy and filled to the brim with God's goodness! Love, Cheryl

    ReplyDelete