From the Evangelist Desk October 2012 Edition.
Yesterday (4th September) was the time of the Deanery Meeting and discussions took place regarding the restructure of the churches within our Deanery. As we were talking I thought that we had a good mix of people present, some being the ‘glass half full’ type and others the ‘glass half empty’ type. What type are you? Are you half full or half empty? The half full ones are those that say, ‘Thank goodness I still have half a glass left to drink’. The half empty ones are those who say, ‘Oh dear, I’ve only got half a glass left to drink’. I seem to dip in and out of either camp, depending what sort of mood I am in at the time.
I think Julian will agree that I was very much the half full empty glass on this occasion. I was dipping in and out of both camps as the evening progressed. Some even said that it may be a challenge from the Lord that we are facing at the present time with the decline of the church, and that we may be facing a test from Him, seeing how we are going to reinvent ‘Church’.
As many of you know I spend a good deal of time reading theology books and Christian books written by some great authors, and I would suggest that the church runs in cycles, because about a 150 years ago they were also moaning about decline. And still we haven’t learnt from the lessons of bygone years.
The opposite of decline is growth and Christ reminds us that there are many people out there that need to hear the Gospel and the Christian value. Matthew 9:36-38 (NIV). When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” It’s time we asked the Lord of the harvest to send more workers, because with the decline we are facing a shortage of able bodied workers. In Christ’s time he faced the opposite, but in both cases we must ask the Lord for help, and not try to undertake the tasks in our own strength, because that it’s what it is all about.
With harvest time, the ground has been sown before, and the seed grows through the water of eternal life given to people by their Saviour Jesus Christ, and He reminds us in, John 4: 36-38 (NIV) 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour.” What can we take from this passage? One thing that jumps out at me is there is team work involved between the sower and the reaper and they are glad together. Completion there then, just two people working together for the one good, that being dropping the seed and bring the harvested crop to the house of the Lord.
If the Church truly wishes sowers and reapers to work for the harvest, then the Lord will provide them, but one must also remember that we need to ensure that the seed and young crop get the right amount of sunshine of the righteous light of God, and moisture from the well of eternal water that comes from Christ. We should also remember that we have a guide and teacher, that being the Holy Ghost, who was promised to us by the Lord. The Holy Ghost will teach one to sow and another when it is the right time to reap.
Going back to the meeting last night to me, and last month to you, I thought to myself, we are all good at reading the books and discussing the right way to plough and the right tools to use to harvest. We are like a management team, without the team, we know the theory, but find it hard to put theory into practise. We have many who are able to offer practical help as labourers, but are the church ready for their help? I think that the church also worries about what type of crop may be grown and what type of crop may be offered to the House of the Lord after the harvest has been completed at the end of the session.
So in summary, let’s spend some time in prayer asking that the Lord send the sowers to sow the fields, for the Lord to shine on and water the crop in due session, and for the reapers to collect the crop to fill the store room, (Church), of God.
In Christ’s Name