Sunday, February 18, 2007


I love when a preacher takes an example from his own past and describes the scene in vivid detail. I know I'm getting some first-hand experience and that usually makes the illustration a little more meaningful for me. As I sat listening to the missionary tonight, I was captivated as he tossed around terms like combine, machine shed, wagon, and tractor. Clearly this was a farm boy who knew a little something about harvesting.

He first mentioned a field of wheat and what happens when the wheat is over-ripe. The wheat actually gets smaller and the tips turn white. All it would take is a raindrop or a windy breeze to break the wheat off the stalk. He then made the comment, "I've never seen a vacuum follow behind a combine" making the point that the souls that were ripe and ready to harvest, once lost, are lost forever. Hell gives back no prisoners.

I thought about the verse where Jesus says, "lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." Jesus used a familiar physical example to make a spiritual application. Our harvest field is the world, but alas, we're not harvesting as much as we should.

Another illustration the missionary used was when he was harvesting one last field at the end of a certain season. There were 80 acres left to be harvested, but a storm threatened to cut off any profit that might come from those acres. As the missionary was plowing late into the evening, his dad told him to go inside and get to bed since he had school in the morning. The missionary said, "no... I have to get this harvest in before the storm" and asked his dad for something to keep him awake. The thought of the ever-looming storm pushed him through the night. For if the storm came and destroyed the crop, there would be no profit... nothing on which the family could live. He finished the acres around 6 AM, just ahead of the storm. Wearily he went inside and got ready for school. His teacher didn't understand why he slept through Algebra class, but he did. The harvest was too important.

Let's make the application to us, hmm? The storm is coming and we need to get the harvest in before it wrecks damage and destruction. Only we're not talking wheat, corn, or soy beans; a soul is really what is at stake. This isn't something that we lose this season and get back next. Once a soul is gone, she or he are gone forever.

One more point he made was this: the combine is sitting in the machine shop, ready to go. It has gas, the tires have air, the battery is charged, and the key is in the ignition.

But the seat is empty.

A combine sounds pretty useless to me without a driver. A combine might look new and shiny, but the value is nothing if it's not used. The harvest will rot out in the field if it's not gathered and collected. Harvesting is not easy, but the end benefits far outweigh the discomforts endured in order to get the harvest in.

Lord, here am I, send me...

... to the store
... to the gas station
... to the toll booth
... to the library
... to the bill collectors
... to my neighbors
... to my co-workers
... to my family
... to my community
... to my county
... to my state
... to my country
... to the world

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