Our first frost of any consequence fell last night. Like many gardens, ours was slow maturing and as a result, some of our garden were caught before it was ready for harvest. This, in spite of the fact that we had our garden planted as early or earlier than most gardens.
This little experience teaches me that time isn't always the determining factor in how much we reap from our gardens. If there isn't enough sunshine balanced out by sufficient rain, fertilizer, and cultivation we will probably face a crop failure. Our garden symbolizes the spiritual life of the careless Christian: Time passes on after salvation and we fail to cultivate the garden of our spiritual life by prayer, worship, Bible study, meditation, fellowship with other Christians plus applying ourselves to a labor of love for our Lord. Some day the killing frost of death will signal the end of the summer of grace for our soul. It will be harvest time past, and the Lord of the harvest will examine our life for the mature fruits of the Spirit. If they are not there, all will be lost for the time of growth will be past.
How happy the soul that, having received salvation, applies himself, or herself, to the task of cultivating the tender plants of faith, hope, love, joy, peace, long-suffering etc. And finds time to labor for the Lord of the harvest. The season of soul-growth may be long or short but the sunshine of God's love and grace will assure us of an abundant harvest of spiritual blessings to enjoy throughout the endless ages of eternity. Yes, we will reap life everlasting if we have sown to the Spirit.
October 12, 1976
"And desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table." (Luke 16:21)
What a tragic commentary on the attitude of this rich man toward the wealth God had permitted him to have and his seeming disregard of his responsibility toward his fellow-man. We ask the question, "How can anyone be so heartless?" For a lone time America has shared her abundance with the underprivileged of the world. Our barns and granaries continue to over-flow from the abundance of our crops. Yet, I wonder, if when our giving begins to affect our personal welfare, that the generosity will not dry up and we will pull the purse strings.
Yet, there are other areas of life in which we content ourselves by giving only crumbs if anything at all.
Recently, in a visit to one of the Nursing Homes, I had made my call-and I was on my way out to continue the schedule of visits I had planned to make that day. On the outside, in wheelchairs, sat two or three elderly men. In passing, I paused to speak and to make some casual remark. How their faces brightened and how cheerily they replied! Yet, they had but received the "crumbs" of my visit to the home. I went on my way carrying a burden for those men and many others like them who may not have a pastor, relative, or friend to visit them. Still another, and far more important area, is the spiritually starved souls outside of the fellowship of the church that we casually pass by on the road of life-so busy keeping the machinery of the church running that we have no time to visit or contact them personally. Often, we may salve our conscience by saying," They know where the church is and they are welcome to come." These unchurched people must content themselves with the "crumbs" that fall from the gospel table thru radio, television, books, papers and magazines. These may be good enough in themselves but they lack the personal touch of love that only comes thru Holy Spirit filled Christians in person to person contact with them.
Isn't it time that we went to the spiritually starved multitudes outside of our church doors with the abundance of Gospel grace and mercy from the table of the-Lord?
October 26, 1977
As we look at the trees rapidly shed their summer coat of leaves and the fields, so recently green with the maturing crops of spring and summer now browned by the blighting frosts of fall, we are made acutely aware that the warm season of growth is over and the chilling cold of winter will be upon us. While we have had a wonderful summer and a bountiful harvest to be thankful for, the wintry blasts are no more welcome to most of us than they ever were.
The prophet looked at the signs of the changing seasons and saw in them a metaphor of a spiritual truth: That Israel had spent her days of opportunity to seek the Lord in fulfilling more worldly ambitions and desires and must now face the consequence of her neglect. Likewise, each of us has ample time to sow to the Spirit and thru our blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ: reap to ourselves salvation form sin. But, as nature has no Court of Appeals to turn to prolong the season of growth and harvest, neither does the soul of man. Truly, the Gospel harvest has been great and multiplied millions have been saved in this "the day of salvation" and for this we rejoice; but if the "day of salvation" pass and the wintry blasts of the judgments of God come upon us in our unsaved condition, there will be no escape for "there is no escape if we neglect so great a salvation."
However, we must differ with the prophet at one point in his metaphor: while the seasons have set limitations of time and we can foresee the end of summer and harvest, the seasons of the soul are indefinite. Death comes to man at all ages and in every condition of life. Often it comes suddenly and unexpectedly in the bloom of health and happiness. It comes in childhood, youth, or the later years of manhood as well as at the expected time of old-age or ill health. It is certain to come to all at the day of judgment and "no man knows the day or hour" of this event. Hence, It behooves us to be ready at all times for we know not when the harvest season of the souls of men will be over and God's Spirit will no longer strive with man and we will have to cry with the prophet of old that "the summer is past, the harvest is ended and we are not saved."
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