Monday, August 9, 2004
Ever since I was little, I've been fascinated by the American Revolution. I always wanted to see Concord Bridge where it sort of all began. You know, the shot heard round the world? By the time I got there, I had two little boys of my own who weren't fascinated by the American Revolution. I wanted to spend a while at Concord Bridge, you know, imagining those Colonial farmers descending on the bridge and the Red Coats stepping up to the bridge in their rigid formation. Unfortunately, my sons weren't interested in any of that. I tried to tell them the story - well, no progress, you know, this is vacation. Who cares about history? Right? Finally, I had one last idea. I got tri-corn hats for them, and we got some sticks for them to use as muskets, and I made them the Americans and I played the Red Coats. (Well, the Red Coat.) They came charging across one side of Concord Bridge. I went running away from them; I eventually ended up fatally wounded! And when they were done, they said, "Let's do it again, Daddy." Of course - they won! They were 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 off 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 here, harvest time means that it passes fast. You've got to get to it. There's only a few days to get it all to happen. Big job, urgent job, not enough help, and men standing around. Why? They said they didn't have a job to do. So, Jesus basically says here there's a job for everyone in His harvest - in the harvesting of human hearts that is.
A lot of church folks are like my sons at Concord Bridge. You just 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 yourself. You're just watching the battle. 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 will be until you get a mission; you can't just hear about people with a mission. You need a job to do for Jesus, and you are surrounded by work that 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 have Christ in their latter years. There are teenagers maybe that 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're urgently needed somewhere, and when you get a mission, 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. 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, for God's soldiers, for the battles that will affect people's eternity. Christianity seems so hollow and meaningless and boring without a personal mission, and you are needed! So don't just listen to second hand facts about the battle. Do what my boys did. Grab a musket and run to the battle in Jesus' name.