Friday, July 9, 2010

Plowing the Field

"One day in early summer I walked past a lovely meadow. The grass was as soft, thick, and beautiful as an immense green Oriental rug. At one end of the meadow stood a fine old tree that served as a sanctuary for countless wild birds, whose happy songs seemed to fill the crisp, sweet air. I saw two cows who lay in the shade as the very picture of contentment. And down by the road, eye-catching dandelions mingled their gold with the royal purple of the wild violets. I leaned against the fence for a long time, feasting my hungry eyes and thinking in my soul that God never made a more beautiful place than this lovely meadow. The next day I passed that way again, and to my great dismay, the hand of the destroyer had been there. A farmer with a large tractor, which was now sitting idle in the meadow, had in one day inflicted terrible devastation. Instead of seeing the soft, green grass, I now saw the ugly, bare, and brown earth. Gone were the dandelions and the pretty violets. And instead of the multitude of singing birds, there were now only a few, who were industriously scratching the ground for worms. In my grief I said, "How could anyone spoil something so beautiful?" Then suddenly my eyes were opened, as if by some unseen hand, and I saw a vision. The vision was that of ripe corn ready for harvest. I could see the giant, heavily laden stalks in the autumn sun, and I could almost hear the music of the wind as it swept across the golden tassels. And before I realized it, the bare earth took on a splendor it did not have the day before. Oh, if only we would always catch the vision of the abundant harvest when the great Master Farmer comes, as He often does, to plow through our very souls----uprooting and turning under that which we thought most beautiful and leaving only the bare and the unlovely before our agonizing eyes." selected

Why should I be frightened and surprised by the plow of the Lord, which makes deep furrows in my soul? I know He is not some arbitrary or irrational farmer---His purpose is to yield a harvest. Samuel Rutherford

With all the changes taking place in our church this passage spoke so clearly to me about where we are. Sometimes we cling to things in our personal lives and in our church that we feel are most beautiful, just like that beautiful meadow the traveler described. But what does God, "The Master Farmer", see when he looks at that same meadow. He sees that though it is beautiful to look at it is wild, untamed, and accomplishing very little. But He also sees its great potential. That if plowed down to the fertile soil, turned over and over until it is ready, planted with new seeds, watered and cared for, one day it will produce a bountiful crop capable of feeding a multitude.

We need to allow God's Holy Spirit to expand our vision beyond what is on the surface in order to think in line with the bigger things He desires to accomplish in and through us. That starts with allowing God to do some plowing in our own souls so we are ready and prepared to share in His vision for our church and the role He desires us to play in the accomplishment of that vision. As James 3:17 & 18 says "But wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Kim Ratcliffe

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