First and always, I thank God for His faithfulness, for His steadfast love and His salvation. He is my salvation. It is because of His great mercy that I live and breathe and it is His grace that saved me and saves me daily. To God be the glory!
I read today from the Psalms a chapter that rubs against my fleshly understanding of mercy and grace and that also leads me to praise God for his goodness, even in the life of this ‘Heman the Ezrahite’, afflicted and close to death from his youth up. YET, he continues to cry out to the LORD, day and night…in the morning…in the seeming darkness and imminent death, he prays with recognition that even his suffering is from the hand of this saving God. [ Psalm 88 ]
Those who would follow Jesus Christ are assured of suffering. Those who set their face toward Jerusalem will be rejected and walk a lonely road. Is it worth it? Should we press on?
Consider some of the hard things you have had to do…hard work. In a culture that offers all sorts of fun and pleasurable experiences, it becomes difficult to entertain the idea that there is value in hard work…difficult toil. I can’t imagine the life of a farmer who had to strap his oxen to the heavy plow and then till the soil all day long. I can imagine that it would have been easy to look for reasons to go back inside the house to rest…and wait for another day to address the day’s work. I’ve never managed a ‘plow’ but I’ve tilled some soil behind a rototiller and it wasn’t easy…being tossed around as it broke up the dirt and bounced off the rocks. I would have thought twice about the task if I knew it was something I would have to be doing all day long, especially if that day’s work would be followed by another of the same and another and another…
Jesus calls us to follow Him. Have you truly thought about the cost. There is a cost to following Christ. There is also a cost to not following. Consider Lot’s wife…she looked back. In Luke 9:62 it reads, Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Not that we follow in the strength of our flesh…that won’t work, nor will it glorify God. But we follow empowered by the One who called us. It is ‘Christ who lives in me’ that works and lives and loves as I live this life in the flesh by faith.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
Let’s pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest…because He tells us to, even as it is He who declared, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.’