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Today, you will be with me…

Almost two months ago, I received a call from Kirkland, Wash. from a sister in Christ whose stepson had left home many years back, almost 5 decades ago. “He lives in Bastrop” she told me and he is not doing well health-wise. He is open to studying from God’s Word finally, “Can you go see him?”

So I went. I called first and then went to visit. Derald was very nice and receptive. He told me about his health problems and we talked about his spiritual needs. He had left attending church services when he left home at 16 AND furthermore, he had never obeyed the Gospel. He told me that his step mother had been the only one who never gave up on him and continued to pray for him.

Derald’s life was not the best. I imagine I don’t know half of the choices in made in his 50 years away from church services. I know some of the things but they don’t matter now.  None of what he had done was so bad that the Blood of Jesus would not be able cleanse it from Derald’s soul.

The arm of the Lord is not so short that it cannot save!

Some of you saw the baptism of Derald on our Facebook page (Lost Pines church of Christ). Derald humbly obeyed the Gospel and was baptized into Christ for the remission of sins 28 days ago. Today, he went to his reward.

Even though he was not in the Kingdom of Christ for very long, the reward is not based on works but upon faith….faith which he had and demonstrated for the few weeks he was upon this earth after being baptized.

Lessons to be learned in this are easy to find. Never stop praying. Never worry about imposing on a brother in Christ if a loved one is able to be reached by them. Never delay to go when someone is brought to your attention. Never grow weary of doing good.

I thank God that Derald was receptive, I thank God that Dianne called me, I thank God that we had the opportunity to teach him although it should be noted that the teaching took place many years ago while he was still at home. I said very little, I did very little. Some people plant, some people water, God gives the increase.

I am filled with sorrow mixed with joy today!

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God gives the increase

What makes a seed grow? From my school days I know that there are a few things needed. Good soil, sunshine, water, and protection from predators (No, not the ones with clocking devices and ugly faces running through the forest chasing or being chased by Arnold Schwarzenegger…these predators are squirrels and cute things like them). But WHAT makes the seed grow? Does it matter?

Mar 4:26-29  And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground,  (27)  and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.  (28)  For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.  (29)  But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

In this parable, some truth is seen regarding the farmer. He doesn’t know how the seed grows, but when it is ready to be harvested, he doesn’t sit around wondering about it, he goes out and harvests. It is not a question that needs to be answered because it is a moot point. If you plant the seed in the appropriated soil, water it, let sun get to it, and protect it, it will grow. How? who cares?

It may be tempting to focus on the harvesting as if that is the big deal and….it is. In fact, the work done up to that point is important. Leave a step out and the crop can fail. However, without the seed, without that one small speck to plant into the ground, there will not be a harvest.

In many of the parables of Jesus, the seed is the word of God. Other things can impact how that word is received and if it will grow but until the seed is spread across the soil, you don’t know what will happen or if any thing will happen.One thing is for sure, we are not the cause of the growth. We might plant, we may water but God gives the increase.

1Co 3:5-7  Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?  (6)  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  (7)  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

Keeping count on conversions is not the thing to do. We ought to keep count on how much seed is spread. Of course, it needs to be the right kind of seed. There are those who go out and spread the seed of their denomination but not of the Bible. They talk about Jesus but they don’t follow Jesus’ teachings. They say they preach the Gospel but they preach a message the scriptures didn’t authorize.  Some do it with deliberateness, others do it because that is how they were taught (They, themselves, forgetting (or never knowing) that the first rule of Bible study is to study the Bible not the church literature or commentaries)

Our job is to spread the message that Jesus proclaimed. In the Gospels, Jesus send out his disciples with a commission. (See Mt 28) and in Acts, we see those disciples fulfilling that mission. In the epistles, we see the Apostles informing the saved of more things they need to know to be Holy but the saving message had already been preached to them.

Go. Plant. Water. But never for a moment think that you gave the increase or caused the seed to grow. That is God’s job and He does it well.

 

 

 

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