My dear friend is a farmers wife, and even though I was raised in the south I am always learning something new from her about life on the farm. On this particular day we met for coffee and prayer as she shared an urgent prayer request with both myself and another friend from Ohio. Her husband was stressed to the max because it was time to pick the cotton, and he desperately needed another cotton picker.
After glancing toward my friend from Ohio, we locked eyes for a brief moment and nodded in agreement without even saying a word, as we offered a simple solution. We would provide not one cotton picker but TWO! We both graciously offered to be the cotton pickers (I mean how difficult could picking cotton really be?) Problem solved! Much to my surprise our friend in need laughed at us openly! I wasn’t sure whether I should join in on the laughter or if I should be offended that she did not gladly accept our generous offer. She then explained that a “cotton picker” is actually an expensive piece of equipment that harvests cotton very efficiently and averages about $100,000 or more! Oh my! No wonder she laughed at the two of us.
One person could never make a noticeable difference picking in this field of cotton, but I am so glad that one person CAN make a difference for the Kingdom! In fact as a child of God we should all be “working the fields” as He commanded us to do.
Matthew 9:35-38 (NKJV)
” Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Jesus was compassionate for the people.
Jesus touched the people.
Jesus healed the people.
Jesus loved the people. Just as He does today. I would love to tell you that I am as quick to share my faith with and serve others as I was that Fall day I agreed to pick cotton for my friend. I must admit that my plans sometimes seem more important than what God has planned for that day. I am probably not alone.
John 4:35 also reminds us of the words of Jesus as he said, “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.”
We do not have to look far to see a sister in need. Someone who would gladly accept an invitation to attend church but is reluctant to go because she doesn’t know anyone there. Someone who is overwhelmed with small children at home and could use an encouraging word or compliment or maybe even a free night (or day) of babysitting? Someone who needs to hear that with Jesus all things ARE possible including her marriage. Someone who needs to simply hear what Jesus has done for you so they too can have hope.
What about you?
Will you decide that today you will choose to be a “laborer” for Christ? What an honor and joy it is to serve others for His sake!
“Father, thank you for being so gracious to me and gently reminding me of the many needs all around me that I could meet if I were not so busy with my own selfish agenda. Thank you for giving me eyes to see what you see and a heart that is quick to respond so that others might see a glimpse of you in me.”
It is that time of the year when high school seniors are busy preparing graduation announcements, signing year books and discussing future plans. What a busy but exciting time! My oldest will be entering the 11th grade so I realize we are very close to this pivotal point in life as well, but I admit I am NOT ready! I am still getting used to the idea of her driving on her own!
I can still remember a history teacher I had in high school who signed my year book and included the verse Jeremiah 29:11 that reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
That verse has since become a favorite and one that I often whisper into the ear of a friend or one of our precious youth who may be struggling with the uncertainty of their future. My Momma would often say “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future!” God’s Word reminds us of this truth my sweet mother shared.
You see I know I often imagine these grand plans in my mind of how I think my life should be, and yet the reality is God’s plan will always be better than anything I could ever create myself! I may have a “good” plan and since we serve a God who allows our free will to reign, He will allow my plan in my life, BUT I want God’s BEST plan for my life! Let’s not allow our good plan for our lives to be an enemy of God’s best for us! He will reveal His plans to us as we spend time with him daily through prayer and meditating on His Word!
“Father, thank you for your Word that reminds me that you DO want the best for me and my life. I will stumble and fall short, but your Grace is new each day, and I am SO grateful for that truth! I ask you to ordain my steps so that I might strive for the best life you have for me, not the good life my flesh strives to achieve. I will give you honor and glory always. In His name I pray…Amen.”
I was intently listening to the beautiful voice of my sweet friend who was singing like an angel as usual in our worship service that morning; lost in my own moment of rejoicing. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw a small figure moving toward the front of the church, and I realized it was a young boy just 7 years who felt compelled to come forward and pray during the song. Sitting on the third row I could easily see the emotion on this little boy’s face as he fell to his knees visibly moved by the song, but more so I believe by the Holy Spirit moving in him. Somehow I felt like I was at that moment, privy to a glimpse into the heart of Jesus. You see this little boy we have grown to love dearly also has Down’s syndrome, and I can recall praying over him with several other brothers and sisters in Christ when he was just a new baby asking God to use him in a mighty way.
Often I must admit over the years I’ve had such compassion and concern for this child who the world may view as weaker due to the health challenges he struggles with daily, but in this blessed moment he seemed to me to be the strongest person in the room as he reached for a tissue by the stairs before he stood up once again. His face was red and stained with tears, but he looked up toward the ceiling of the church as if he was looking right into Heaven, and he simply smiled toward the ceiling before returning to his seat.
I am reminded of the words of Jesus Himself when he said, “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4
Somewhere along the way toward adulthood, we begin to believe that we can rely on our own abilities, talents, education, or influence to enable us to be successful…to be considered great. When I think of a child, and especially an infant, I think of a helpless little person whose needs are entirely dependent on the person who cares for him. Oh how true this is with our Creator!
“Father, let me remember that you are the only one in whom I can trust for all of my needs, and yet you are more than sufficient! May I be like a little child totally dependent on you for all things even when my circumstances may not make sense to me. I choose to trust you in all things! In Jesus name…Amen.”