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Faith Imagined: The Harvest

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

April 25, 2011

The Harvest

I struggle with judging people and ministries trying to reach the world for Christ. I remembered hearing a Christian techno song once. I liked the song, but I imagined it being played at some Rave party, while the under aged kids danced with ecstasy streaming through their veins. I thought to myself, "How could this song possibly lead someone to Christ?"

I envisioned the seeds of the Gospel being scattered all over the party, sowing God's truth in fruitless efforts. "All those seeds go to waste," I told God.

"Not all of them," He replied.

Then I saw a girl in my mind's eye. She woke up depressed and hung over. She remembered dancing to a song about Jesus the night before. She thought it was weird at the time, but now she wanted to know more. She searched her mother's room for a Bible and while reading it, the Holy Spirit brought her to the cross. Saved by a techno Christian song!

Another time I judged was when I saw a man drag a cross up and down the beach. "There are so many more productive ways to reach people for Christ," I thought. "At most, He might reach a few in one day." Then I heard an amazing pastor talk at a conference. He was saved by a man who dragged a cross up and down the local street where his parents owned a beach rental store. The pastor now reaches thousands for Christ. Saved by a man dragging a cross!

I'm realizing that God reaches into the desert with His grace to touch the lives of His lost children. If every person has his or her own desert, then there are billions of deserts in this world that God wants to bring His mercy to. Each of us have deserts within walking distance of our individual lives. We can't focus with jealousy or judgement on what other people and ministries are doing. We need to look around and see who is in arm's reach of us. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few because they are all distracted by what every one else is doing!

So whether a ministry is small or large, cutting edge or traditional, local or oversees, individual or cooperate, we should pray for them but keep our eyes focused on the fields that God has planted us. We will do no good trying to analyze the steps of others and their ministries. And quite frankly it's exhausting and time consuming worrying about what everyone else is doing. We need to soberly ask God what desert He wants us to reach, and then plow that desert like we only have a vapor of time left to finish it.

"Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9.37-38 NIV).

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28 Comments:

OpenID candidkerry said...

Great word! I'm way too quick to judge, too.

There's a woman who sits on the corner of two local main roads every Saturday. She holds a little sign, "Jesus saves." She waves at cars and I always try to wave back at her, but truthfully I'm thinking, 'Is that really doing anything?'

But maybe she's planting a nugget in someone's mind, and like you said, they have access to a Bible. Our awesome God can accomplish anything!

Loved this. :)

4:32 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

So often, we need to just trust that God has a way to reach our hearts and, in turn, for us to positively inspire others as well through the path He makes for us.

5:44 PM  
Blogger From The Heart Online said...

the workers are few because of distraction - interesting take :)

This is timely for me. I find that, as I focus on my own inabilities, fears, or the smallness of my efforts, that I'm consumed with myself. I'm comparing. Judging. Distracted.

I can't tell you how many times I've said these last few weeks, "I just want to be okay" - with who I am, what I do ... confident that I'm in the center of God's will, confident that what I do and say is what God would have me do and say. That's what I want.

I'll never be there if I'm constantly comparing...

Thanks Alisa, for this word of encouragement - whether I'm at home, work, parenting, singing in church ... it all counts. God uses it all, even if I think it will go nowhere. Boy I need to believe that.

7:16 PM  
Blogger For His Glory said...

I just read those words this morning in my quiet time. What struck me this morning was that the harvest was plentiful BUT the workers were few.
Thanks for the varied perspective on it. As I was reading your thoughts, I was reminded of Isaiah 55:11 so shall my word go forth it shall not return to me void; it shall go forth to accomplish what I please. And it shall prosper in the thing I sent it". I agree with you let's keep sending forth the Word we never know who or where it will land.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

Things are so much easier when we keep our eyes on Him! Appreciate your thoughts. :)
Blessings,
Karen

8:06 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I love this post.
I go to a very loud church. We often have Christians from more traditional backgrounds come and ask if we can turn it down - but the fact is we see salvations every weekend - our church is thriving and reaching those that God intends us to reach.
Love how you've said 'we should pray for them but keep our eyes focused on the fields that God has planted us.'
We need to have a multitude of styles to reach a multitude of people.
xx

8:14 PM  
Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Such a profound insight, Alisa. Stop worrying about, i.e. judging, someone else's attempts to share the Gospel. Instead, ask God what he wants me to do--and do it.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Oh Alisa, you've hit on one of my greatest sins-judging. I often wonder if the Lord is sick of my confessions for it.

I've watched ministries rise when I thought there was no way, and fall when I thought they were fireproof. Reminding me every time; my ways definitely aren't God's ways.

Thank you for this precious reminder. I'm going to FB/Tweet it right now!

8:31 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Such a great word Alisa. I actually came out of the "rave" scene into Christianity when I was 18, and I was grateful that I found Christian techno at the local Christian book store. It helped me feel like God was meeting me where I was at the time. That seems like such a lifetime ago, and now I do catch myself judging. How can I do that, when God is meeting other people where they are, in the way that THEY need. Thank you for this.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

i always love the message that God puts on your heart for all of us.

10:34 PM  
Blogger The Unknowngnome said...

"Each of us have deserts within walking distance of our individual lives....We need to look around and see who is in arm's reach of us." Amen.

I was discussing this very thing with a friend just last week. We each should reach to those we can.

Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Isa 32:2

1:06 AM  
Blogger Maid of Heart said...

"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few because they are all distracted by what every one else is doing!"

That statement is just why many are not fulfilling their calling. God uses our uniqueness to fulfill His calling in our lives, we just don't get it when He does that in others.

Lord help us.

A sobering message.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

What a great post. I think you wrote it just for me. I am so quick to judge. I realize this but it is still a struggle to quit.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow."

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Margo said...

This is wonderful, I just wanted to let you know that this post really brightened my day. I loved your examples - the party, the guy dragging the cross down the street. Who are we to know what the Lord will use? He is so amazing how he inspires everyone differently, and speaks to people when we least expect it.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Sharon Kirby said...

The enemy can be very effective in his methods to distract us from our own "fields."

And I also have to guard against passing judgment on the methods of others. Ironically, just a year ago, I looked at blogging people, and thought it was silly. I would NEVER be interested in doing that. Well, God had another idea entirely.

And I am convinced that this blogging world is a powerful ministry.

HE will use ALL things for His glory! Lord, just show me my part, and help me to be obedient to it.

GOD BLESS!

2:23 PM  
Blogger thatdesigngal said...

This is one of my biggest problems. I'm very quick to judge, and it's something that I have to continually work on.

Thank you for this post!

Sorry I have been so MIA, my husband and I are expecting our first child on Thursday! Hope you are doing well!

5:52 PM  
Blogger Toyin O. said...

So true, we should never judge people. Various minsitries are called to do different things, we never know how God wants to uniquely reach differnt people.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

Always so transparent, so humble.

The Word says the world we'll know we're Christians by our love for one another. Perhaps if we took this seriously, we'd see more people attracted to the Lord.

Blessings,
Susan :)

7:47 PM  
Blogger lioneagle said...

Hi Alisa -

Wow!

I came here today as led by our Lord and was deeply struck by the similarities in your post, done April 25th, and mine done today, April 27th.

GOD is infinte and so amazing!

You expressed, "We need to soberly ask God what desert He wants us to reach, and then plow that desert like we only have a vapor of time left to finish it."

Hearty Amens indeed, Alisa.

Thank you so much for this rich post.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Bek @ Grace Overflowing said...

Great post, Alisa. I really love phrase "they are all distracted by what every one else is doing!" Very powerful. This has certainly impacted me. God wants us all to be ourselves, not cheap copies of someone else or what someone else is doing. Being true to who we are enables us to impact the 'desert' he has waiting for us.
I found your blog from the LeadHer blogger pool.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Andie said...

Great post Alisa. God works in strange ways and does all he can to bring his children home. He uses the most interesting and unique ways sometimes. And, I'm sure that your blog is one of them.
Andie

4:12 AM  
Blogger K.M. Weiland said...

Powerful post. It's so easy us for us to try to impose limitations on the tools God can use. But if He used a donkey, He can use anything to get the message across to those who need to hear it!

11:27 AM  
Blogger Tolu said...

I think we need to realize that God's word has the power in itself to reach people, with or without our help. I so love your post. Even a man dragging a cross up and down the street, can lead someone to Jesus Christ, simply because the cross is God's idea.

All God needs is our humility and willingness to be used of him in anyway He pleases. Who are we to decide with whom, with what or how God chooses to accomplish his objective of salvation?

5:35 AM  
Blogger Connie Arnold said...

Great post, Alisa! I think we all are guilty of judging that way at some time. We need to remember that God can use anyone in a special way to spread seeds that can be nurtured and grown. We need to each do our part to spread those seeds as well.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I would guess that we all have struggled with the "judging". I have a new attitude now....

8:07 AM  
OpenID bluecottonmemory said...

I remember in college, some campus ministers would come, preach about how women wearing pants were going to hell - and students would line up 4+ deep to listen and rail against their heavy-handed judgementalism. What impressed me about it is their preaching spurred students to vocalize their beliefs, to verbalize their faith - yes, in contrast to what was being preached - and it seemed to bring to remembrance what had been planted in their hearts. I don't know if that is what they intended, but I was impressed.

I have always thought the un-sung missionaries were people in our neighborhoods who planted and watered faith seeds! That theme has been so prevalent on my heart for so long - the need to us to reach out to people around us:) I so love your post!!!

12:28 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Another profound post...

Judging others...and the conviction that always followed...was a part of my life for a long time...

My eyes were finally opened to the narrow-mindedness of that type thinking...and with God's help...I try to help defend the very people I use to judge so harshly...

Do I still judge unfairly? Yes, it still happens sometimes, but my heart is quicker to respond to the Holy Spirit when conviction strikes a chord...and I realize that my sin is greater than any of those I propose to "judge"....

6:53 PM  

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