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Jun 2017

Too Few Workers

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Too Few Workers

There’s a passage I like to read with my students. It’s well known and I’m sure you’ve heard it before.  It reads “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt 9:37) It’s a direct quote from Jesus. The passage comes after Jesus had walked around with the people and talked with them and healed them. He spent time with the people and observed their needs. He saw their hurt and pain. He saw how helpless they were.

Let’s look at the passage again and try to break it down.

“The harvest is plentiful”

Stop; think about that for a moment. You see, there isn’t any shortage of hurting, broken people in the world. In other words, the harvest is great. Jesus sees each harassed and helpless person in this world as a person ready for harvest. However, there’s a problem greater than all the hurting people.

“but the workers are few.”

There aren’t enough disciples ready willing and able to go out into the harvest field. There aren’t enough shepherds, mentors or healers. But Jesus doesn’t give the dark truth of our current predicament without a glimmer of hope.

“Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore,“ 

We have to reach out and ask for help. He’s listening.

“to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Have you been working in the field and feel like you’re working alone?

You need to reach out to Jesus and ask for help and remember that it is His field, not ours.

Have you been ignoring the call of God to go into His field?

I share this passage with my students because I want them to understand that they are the workers we have been praying for and you are too. If you are reading this then consider yourself called to go into God’s field and heal, and comfort, and mentor. We need to share the news of the gift we have been given because they’re ready to hear it.

Go out into the field and represent God is such a way that the word “Christian” will bring a smile to someone’s face. 

 

Johnathan Coker is one of the founders of Enspire Productions. He is currently a teacher at Chisholm Trail Academy. 


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Enough

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Enough

Have you ever felt as if you are not enough? As if you are not good enough despite anything accomplish? As if no matter what you do, it will never be enough?

Hannah felt the same way. Living in a time where having a husband was essential for survival and prosperity, she was well off. But that was temporary. Her husband, Elkanah, was there for now. But what would Hannah do if he wasn’t there any longer? You see, Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah; Peninnah had children, while Hannah could not have any. Being a woman without children or a husband was the worst thing in society. With no one to care and provide for her, Hannah would be led to find means of income in the most unpleasant of jobs. For now, Hannah had Elkanah but she felt empty and not enough without a child. Though Peninnah ridiculed her, Elkanah loved and comforted her, and favored her. And yet, Hannah did not feel that she was enough.

While on one of their trips to Shiloh, where they would journey once a year to worship God, Elkanah noticed something was wrong with Hannah. So, he asked three poignant questions.

“Why are you crying?” “Why are you not eating?” “Why is your heart sad?” (1 Sam 1:8)

Interestingly, these three questions addressed Hannah’s emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. It was a holistic question. “Hannah, why are you completely and utterly devastated?” Elkanah was speaking to the depth of her heart, and attempting to show his love for her. His final question takes it home and reveals a truly invested Elkanah. He asks, “Am I not worth more to you than 10 sons?” Bam! Woah! What a question. Elkanah had seen the pain and anguish that Hannah’s infertility had caused her; pain which had affected him as well. But her inability to bear a child did not inhibit or restrain his love for her. He was trying to get her attention, to point her away from her “deficienciesand to her enoughness. Elkanah loved Hannah because she belonged to him, she was his wife; beyond what she could do for him, he loved her for her. Hannah was enough for him.

In the same way, we may feel as though we are not enough. We come to God and thank Him for His love. But turn around and beat ourselves up because we are never good enough, strong enough, bold enough, perfect enough, talented enough, loving enough. Enough! God loves us. God loves you, not because of what you have, can, or will do, but because He just loves.

1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love,” and He cannot help but love you. John 3:16 paints the beautiful picture of God’s love for us, that He would rather die and go to hell for us, than be in heaven without us. His love for you is not based on who you are or what you do. You do not have to earn His love. There is nothing that you can do to make Him love you more or to make him love you less. He loves you with an everlasting love and there is nothing that can separate you from Him (Jer 31:3; Rom 8:38-39). He is longing to grab our attention and point us away from our deficiencies and towards our enoughness. Don’t fight for the approval of this world, simply realize that the God of the universe finds you likeable, desirable, and enough!

 

Sebastian Lopez has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2010. He is currently enrolled in the MDiv. program at the Andrews University Theological Seminary.


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How to Love. Even When You're Right.

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How to Love. Even When You're Right.

Loving others is easy, right? Maybe if they’re beautiful, rich, or have the same ideas as you. How about loving someone who looks or worships differently than you? What if someone is living a life that contradicts your convictions? Is it still possible to show love?

The simple answer: Yes. A resounding and world-changing yes. But since when has the answer ever been simple?

We like to complicate things. We’re experts at this. Rather than showing love, we show how right we are, and how wrong they are. But this doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve seen friends who are struggling with something that we Christians don’t have a clean answer to. It’s ok to not have an answer. I desire to see a love-filled journey to the answer together. However, it’s so much easier to recite a text condemning certain behavior. Being right is dangerous. Feeling righteous is a perilous place to be.

How does this happen? How did we get here? Does the Bible have any advice?

A Rich Man and a Tree

Journey with me through Luke 19:1–9. Let’s see how Jesus treats the marginalized that the “God-fearers” don’t know how to handle.

As Jesus is passing through Jericho with a large throng of people around Him, little man Zacchaeus climbs a sycamore tree to see this Jesus that everyone is talking about. To his surprise, Jesus notices Him, and even more surprisingly invites Himself over to Zacchaeus’ house. 

You see, tax-collectors during this time were despised. They were considered some of the lowest of the low due to their active allegiance to Rome. This was perceived by the Jews as an ongoing rebellion against God’s sovereignty. 

In today’s terms, a controversial outcast of the Christian society would include homosexuals, alcoholics, addicts, proponents of abortion, and virtually anyone that worships differently. This (far from exhaustive) list may seem startling and insensitive, but it’s the reality of how tax collectors were treated in Jesus’ day. 

I struggle with this. Often, I have been a part of the crowd that was irritated at Jesus’ choice to hang out with that guy. I was with them when they grumbled, “He has gone to be the guest of sinner.”

They knew he was a sinner, and I’m right there with them rightly accusing this person of his sins.

While we’re debating amongst ourselves about how wrong of a life this person is living, look at the interaction of mercy and grace that we’re missing:

Here we see Zacchaeus, the man who had been hated for his entire life, react to the One who shows sincere compassion.

“Look, Lord,” he cries. “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 

This response is astonishing especially when considering that no words have come from Jesus’ mouth to prompt this proclamation. The focus appears to be quite simply that Jesus gave him His time. Resulting from Jesus’ loving, non-judgmental presence, this man’s life was put on a trajectory that would not have occurred otherwise. 

Jesus replies to Zacchaeus with, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” 

Wow. Talk about counter-cultural. Through His example, Jesus shows us that we are to seek out those who are in known sin, not to tell them how right we are and how wrong they are.

Consider what Jesus says just one chapter prior in Luke 18:17, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Like the tax collector, babies depend fully on the caregiver, with their only claim being their great need.

Maybe we should remove some of our righteous pride. Maybe we should humble ourselves and be a little bit more like the tax collector.


Original article written by Jonny Wilczynski here.

Jonny has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2009. He is currently enrolled in the MDiv. program at the Andrews University Theological Seminary.


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