After Pastor Andrews message last week, regarding The Matters of the HEART, the Lord gave me a bible verse in Proverbs to share with the church on Facebook. [Joel 2:8] “…your old men shall dream dreams,“
Proverbs 28:19 He who cultivates his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless people and pursuits [or worthless projects] will have poverty enough.”
In my quiet time this week, I was reading and meditating in the first chapter of James, in the New Testament. I focussed was led specifically to James 1:4:
“But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [churches people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
In reading through the Book of James I feel it is as though I was being advised how to prune a shrub. Since the weather has been nice as of late in the Northwest, I have been weeding the garden and snipping off this twig and that twig; this branch and that branch. I do this in the garden either for appearance or, in the case of pruning, to develop and improve the fruit-bearing or flower-bearing value. My wife and I find ourselves cutting off dead material and triming out the excess branches on a daily ritual during the growing season. We cut them off one by one, whether they are big or little we trim them off one at a time.
This seems to be the situation in the book of James. A sentence here, a sentence there, a verse here, a verse there, yet each one important in itself as it snips or cuts off something. Sometimes something is added as if it were grafted in and is important. Thus I find the book is like a manual of instructions for a gardener. So in my detective work today, I found this subject of GARDENING especially helpful; for the local church who perhaps is promoting the development and the growing of spiritual life and spiritual experience in their city and in their church growing.
How many projects have been begun in the community church but have become a total loss because they have never been finished! It’s the give up, cave in and quit syndrome. No doubt many a woman will be reminded of making a dress or in my wife Dianne’s case, “Headboard Cushions” that will eventually hang above our bed. She will smile as she remembers a half-finished dress tucked away in a dresser drawer. Maybe it’s almost finished — but it is not complete, not really finished. She can not wear it. All the time spent on it so far does not help at all. It takes that last trimming, that last stitching, that last fitting, to make the dress or “Headboard Cushions” what it was meant to be.
The same holds true in the raising of a crop or a garden. When the farmer wants to raise a crop he must prepare the soil at the proper time of year. He must plant the seed in the right way. Next, he must “cultivate his land”. He will then hoe and trim and spray his growing plants. He will try to keep the neighbor’s dogs away, so that his garden and his flowers will have a chance to grow. After over sixty years of experience in gardening, this is how its done.
The farmer or gardener’s complete attention must be given to it in what ever way is needed. He watches over his garden and protects it all summer long. Why does he protect his crops all summer long? The answer is easy — because he wants the harvest that he has worked and watched for.
Harvest Time is the best time.
It is the time the farmer looks forward to when he is planting to raise a crop. It’s the finish that counts. How farmers watch their grain grow all summer waiting for harvest time. When the grain turns yellow they feel at last the time has come. They eagerly hope they will have a great harvest, because this was their purpose in all that they did.
It seems that during the summer months in todays churches, the Pastors and the people have come to a false realization of gardening in their surrounding cities. Explanations of, “people go on vacations during the summer”, “tithing always drops in the summer”, “all classes are called off until further notice”. Then comes the Fall, and everyone begins to be impatient and disappointed for the lack of a harvest of people. So they go to the dresser, pull out the unfinished dress and start over again. What has happened? The answer is most often overlooked in every church in the land. The summer months have gone; no pruning, no grafting, no thinning, no dead-heading, and lack of cultivation of the land. Proverbs 28:19 became clear in my spirit this week. If we all cultivate the city, not just the Pastors, there will be plenty of bread [life] to be found. If we spend our time on worthless campaigns, worthless projects, and worthless ideas, we will only harvest poverty. It was pretty clear and I hope it has been for you in reading the blog.
START DIGGING IN THE SOIL, PLANTING THE WORD SEED, TENDING THE CITY GARDEN , CULTIVATING THE GOOD SOIL –then watch the grain grow ripe for the harvest. Now is the time for churches to plant the seeds, then “endurance, steadfastness and patience“, then a rich harvest.