Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Ever since I was little I've been fascinated by the American Revolution, and I always wanted to see Concord Bridge, where it sort of all began. You know, the shot heard around the world? By the time I got there, I had two little boys of my own who were not fascinated by the American Revolution. I wanted to spend a while at Concord Bridge, imagining those Colonial farmers descending and the Red Coats stepping up to the bridge in their rigid formation.
Unfortunately my sons were not interested in all of that. I tried to tell them the story; yawn! Come on, this is vacation. Who cares about history, right? One last idea. I got their tricorn hats that we bought them and we got some sticks for them to use as muskets. I made them the Americans and I played Red Coat. So they came charging across one side of the Concord Bridge. I went running away from them. I eventually ended up fatally wounded. And when we were done they said, "Let's do it again, Daddy!" Of course they won every time. They became interested, but not until they had a part.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Out of the Book and Into the Battle."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 20:6-7. Jesus is telling a story about a man who needs help at harvest time. He's gone out three times during the day to get more and more help. And finally, he goes out near the end of the working day, and it says this: "About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?' 'Because no one has hired us' they answered. He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'"
There's an urgent job to be done! Harvest time passes fast; you've got to get to it. There's only a few days to make it all happen. Big job; urgent job with not enough help. Men standing around? Why? Because they said they didn't have a job to do. So Jesus says here basically there's a job for everyone in the harvest; the harvest of human hearts.
See, a lot of church folks are like my sons at Concord Bridge. You hear the facts about the battle. You hear stories of what other people have done to reach people, but you're not playing any active part. You're just watching.
Actually God doesn't intend to have any of His kids just be spectators. This is a war with life-or-death stakes going on. He wants you out of the stands and into the game. Maybe your Christianity is kind of gray and boring. And it is until you get a mission, not just hear about people with a mission.
You need a job to do for Jesus, and you can be sure He's got one. You're surrounded by work He needs done. There are boys who need you. There are girls who need you to reach out to them. There are senior citizens who are lonely and need to hear about Christ in their few remaining years. There are teenagers maybe you could connect with. There are homeless people. There are Christian workers who are buried in administrative detail and you could help relieve them for the work that only they can do. You are urgently needed somewhere I'll tell you.
When you get a mission, when you get a piece of the action, your faith comes alive. You read the Bible with a new appetite, you pray with a new intensity, and you listen with a new openness. You can't just go to church to get filled up and meet your needs. It's a staging area for God's rescue operation on earth launched at the cross. It's a place for God's soldiers. It's a place to get ready for the battles that affect people's eternities.
Christianity seems hollow, meaningless and boring without a personal mission, and you are needed. So don't just listen to secondhand facts about the battle for human souls and for eternities. Do what my boys did. Grab a musket and run to the battle in Jesus' name.