Gayle's parents were away - and they had asked her to check on their house while they were gone. Gayle's one of our ministry team. It was a pretty cold night - Gayle thought the heat should be on. She called her dad - in dad fashion, he said, "You should know what to do - done it before. Probably just a zone valve is stuck." So Gayle went to work on the zone valve - she really went to work on it. We're talking about desperate measures - like beating the valve to death with a screwdriver and actually breaking blood vessels in her hand in the process. It refused to stay open in spite of Gayle's vigorous encouragement. Valve 1, Woman 0. When dad got home a few days later, he went to work on it - and it was very easily fixed. Of course, he worked on the other valve - the right valve. Gayle had been working on the valve, it turns out, that was already working! He told Gayle she had made a simple mistake - she put a lot of effort into fixing what was already working - and no effort into what really needed the attention.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Fixing The Fixed, Ignoring The Broken."
Our word for today comes from John 4:35. Here's the scene - Jesus had taken His disciples on a spiritual mission into Samaritan territory. Jesus waits outside the village, the disciples went into the village to buy food. The Lord met a Samaritan woman at that well and He introduced her to eternal life. She runs back, tells the town about her excitement about the Savior - and the Samaritans are flocking toward the well to meet Jesus.
What a spiritual opportunity. A sea of unreached people coming to them. Guess what the disciples are focused on - lunch, groceries. In verses 31 and 33 that's all they can talk about.
Chapter 4:35 - "Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest!" Harvest means ready - and Jesus is saying, "Wake up, guys! We are surrounded by people who are ready to Me." And they were about to miss it - they were focused on their own personal concerns - and ignoring the lost and dying people within their reach!
Not much has changed. Today, we are all too often like Gayle trying to get that valve working. She spent all her effort on the one that was already working - and doing nothing about the one that really needed attention. We spend so much of our Christian effort on the people who are already working - those who know Christ. Everything from our meetings to our radio programs to our books to our social life is largely focused on blessing the saints, fellowshipping the saints. And that's not bad, at all. Unless we spend all our energy and time and money there - and put almost no effort into the people who are eternally broken without our Savior.
It's as if we're so busy worrying about our "lunch" that's going to fill us up that we miss those who starving. But Jesus is saying you to "open your eyes" - those people around you that you work with, live near, go to school with, that's what people in hell will look like. Then He says, "Look at the fields," He says to you - not just the farmhouse where we can feel comfy and cozy. "They ripe for harvest." Harvest is urgent business. If the harvest workers don't get busy, and act quickly the harvest will die. And so will it be said there were people around us ready for Jesus - we weren't ready to go to them - they won't be ready for eternity. That'll be true unless we move beyond just fixing those who are already fixed - and start working on the ones who are broken!