Friday, August 31, 2012
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When my wife and I were raising our three children, communication during the early morning shift at our house was, shall we say, non-verbal. There I was, getting ready for my day. The kids were getting ready for school, and my wife was doing her role of maid, chef, valet, chauffeur.
One morning I was shaving and thinking through an endless list of things I had to do on that particular Friday; all of it the Lord's work of course. I was mulling over a sermon I had coming up, and I was thinking about some radio programs, and about an appointment I had that day, and a couple of events I was planning. My son pops in.
Now, somehow I must have succeeded in letting him know - non-verbally - just how much I had on my mind, because he disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. I think he got the message. Then as I was praying about all of the Lord's work I had to do that day, suddenly I remembered an important decision my son had to make that day; one that he probably needed to talk about. And the Lord woke me up in those early morning hours with what He told me, so I'll tell you.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Mission Right In Front Of You."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 4, and I'm going to begin reading at verse 30. It takes place after the woman of Samaria, who met Jesus at the well, has gone back and said, "I met a man who told me all I ever did." And now the town is starting to come to Him. The disciples, who have missed all this, have just returned. It says, "The Samaritans came out of the town and made their way toward Jesus. Jesus says to the disciples, 'Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, 'Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.'" I think He was pointing at all those Samaritans streaming out of the village. "The harvest is here. Even now the reaper draws his wages (He said); even now he harvests the crop for eternal life."
For the disciples, this town in Samaria was a pit stop. They're looking ahead to some great future ministry...four months till harvest. But they were missing the ministry right under their noses.
Sounds sort of like this man I heard about at the beginning of the program who was shaving, thinking about the ministry he had ahead, and missing a son who needed some ministry right there. You see, you don't have to leave your home to do the Lord's work. In fact, the Lord's work begins right in front of you, right at home. Interestingly enough, in the list of qualifications for leaders in 1 Timothy 3, it says, "Make sure you have somebody whose ministry at home is quality; who has his home under control."
So often we fill up our lives with ministry responsibilities, only to reach other people's kids while missing our own; to bring blessing to God's house while neglecting our first responsibility; the congregation at our house. Many husbands, and wives, and children, and parents, have been victims of a misguided view of God's work that you have to leave home before you start doing ministry.
That doesn't mean you withdraw from every responsibility, but it does mean you take care of the Lord's work at home first. Maybe your unbelieving family member would be better reached by you staying home and spending time with them than by you going to another prayer meeting to pray for them. Your mate, your child - they may need your ear, your encouragement, your counsel as much as anyone you're going to see at that meeting.
Look around your house for the needs that are right there before you, before you go charging off somewhere else to find the Lord's work. Hey, it's right there in front of you.