Acts 13:47 “For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’
There was a man named Aesop, he was a greek slave and storyteller who was believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 B.C. and 524 B.C.. Aesop wrote stories that have endured through centuries because of their depth of wisdom and insight. One such story is the “Grasshopper and the Ant”. The fable describes a grasshopper who spent the summer singing and dancing his way through life, seemingly without a care in the world. The ant on the other hand spent his summer storing food for the winter. When winter arrives the grasshopper begs the ant for food as he starves to death and yet the ant rebukes the grasshopper for his idleness and sarcastically tells him to dance the winter away as he did during the summer when the time of harvest was at hand.
The moral of the story was to teach the value of diligence in due season, working hard when the opportunity presents itself and enjoying the fruit of your labors when it is time. If only more kids were taught such values today, we might not have a culture that expects so much for nothing.
Matthew 9:35-38 “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 understood the necessity of taking advantage of opportunities. The church age is in an age of opportunity. The dispensation of grace is upon our world, denoting a time when sinners are given opportunity to be led back to God in peace. Jesus provided the only recourse for sin and this period will only last until the great white throne judgement at the end of days.
How soon will this end occur?
I believe the church age is about to conclude. The signs all point to a soon and coming rapture of the church, followed by a 7 year tribulation upon the world. The prophecies have all been fulfilled, giving those who look, a hope that the imminent return of Christ is coming quickly.
Until this day comes, the church has a responsibility to be light in a dark world. We are not called to batten down the hatches or hide away in a cellar, we are called to go out among the wolves and make disciples.
Wise as Serpents
Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
The enemy hates the message of the cross. When going into the world it is inevitable that God’s people will encounter those controlled by the enemy. The expectation of hatred and resistance should be a given, as Jesus was hated so will a people who represents Him.
Take joy when others mock your message or confronts your position, this means you are going forth with the image of Christ upon you.
Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
When others resist you, they often bring accusation. The accusations are a result of effectively revealing the necessity for grace. The law of the Lord brings conviction but for those who don’t like feeling convicted the response is often times an attempt at discrediting you.
“The Bible says judge not unless you want to be judged”, is a common response from those who don’t understand the meaning of conviction. People often times don’t like to be told they are guilty, it denotes a sense of failure and confronts the image of what goodness looks like in their own eyes.
When people bring accusation, don’t give them anything to hold onto. The message must be presented in love, not in some fiery speech that focuses on Hell and the judgement to come. The law brings enough judgement on it own, a short expression of what the end of God’s judgement entails is typically enough.
Innocent as Doves
The dove is symbolically representative of peace. When Noah sent forth a dove from the Ark to test if the water had receded, the dove eventually returned with an olive leaf. The symbol became representative of how God’s wrath had subsided from upon the earth and peace once again reigned.
Today, the peace of God is upon God’s people. They have received a reprieve from wrath because they have accepted the sacrifice of Christ who brought us peace.
The world needs to see that peace is achievable. Peace from the turmoil of injustice, peace from the ravages of sin, and an understanding of peace with God that is essential for eternal life.
Working in God’s Kingdom is the work of a joyous heart that delights in honoring their Savior. It is the love of God that drives God’s people into the fields and it is the love of God that will be faithfully given to those who come to accept His mercy.
Work while there is still time. God’s people have an eternity to enjoy the rest they will soon receive. Be persistent. Do not fear. You will see one day the reward of your efforts and the gratitude of a Savior will make it all worthwhile.