Wednesday, October 4, 2017
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Birds had moved into the vent in the exhaust fan of our kitchen range while we were on vacation. Isn't that nice? They set up their little nest and made themselves really at home. And, man, were they noisy neighbors! The nest was so huge it made the fan unworkable. And some lovely spiders were hanging down from the hood on the stove. Our problem was that trying to remove that nest might have killed that nest full of baby birds. Well, we couldn't see them, but man, we could sure hear them when they were hungry! So, we waited until Mom and Dad bird took the babies out. A couple of weeks later, after we were sure they were gone, I got a long stick and I proceeded to rake out the rest. But when we removed the nest, we discovered a little surprise. Well, no, actually, a big, fat surprise. There was the fattest bird we had ever seen, sitting in the nest. As my wife went to get gloves and a box, he got away. But it literally took a major earthquake to get that bird out of his nest!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Camping In the Nest."
You know, God has some spiritually fat "birds" that have been sitting in the nest way too long. They should be flying; instead they're just hanging around the nest. And God sometimes shakes our nest to get us out of where it's comfortable and into some lives whose eternity may depend on us.
Jesus addresses the tragedy of believers who are camped in the nest in our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 9:36-37. It says, "When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Here's the question: is that what you see when you look at the people you work with or go to school with or live near? When you ask Jesus for a heart like His, those people you see almost every day never look the same again to you. No matter how together they may appear, you see them as sheep with no clue where to go, people with the pain that sin causes and you see them as future inhabitants of hell without Jesus. Unless someone close to them intervenes with the news that Jesus has died so they don't have to.
Then Jesus reveals this deadly equation: "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." Farmers tell me that, to them, the word harvest means "ready." So Jesus is saying, "Hey, the ready is plentiful." He's got all kinds of lost people ready to hear about Him. The lost people aren't His problem-it's His people. They're sitting in the nest, soaking up the spiritual goodies, while people all around them are ready for Jesus but spiritually dying without Him. So Jesus says, "Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field."
In the original language of the New Testament, the word for "send out" literally means "to forcibly expel"! Jesus has to shake our nest, make us restless with our comfort zone, let us know that there's something we're missing, and then get us to join Him in rescuing the dying - His life's mission.
Words like "evangelism" and "witnessing" just don't convey the life-or-death urgency the Bible is describing when it tells us to "rescue those being led away to death" (Proverbs 24:11). When it's "rescue"-when someone's going to die if you don't go after them, you can't any longer just stay in your comfy Christian nest. You've got to do whatever you can to rescue the dying. And maybe God even wants to use these words to shake you out of your nest and get you into the mission for which His Son died.
We can rest in heaven forever. We only have now to help some people we know be there in heaven with us. As Amy Carmichael said so powerfully, "We will have all eternity to celebrate our victories, but only a few short hours to win them." We are in those few short hours.