Devotional – May 13, 2020
As Spring 2020 was opening its beauty to us, a virus, COVID-19, spread its ugliness.
Lives were lost and lives were changed as effects were felt in institutions: churches, schools, businesses, families, & governments, etc. As this occurred in the midst of a crumbling culture, we need first to do as God’s Word says, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Dr. Philip Ryken, President of Wheaton writes: “There is nothing too marvelous, too difficult, too wonderful,
or too extraordinary for our God to accomplish.”
Chaplain Mark D. Johnson with The Gideons International writes: “Our natural tendency is to look after own interests and welfare. Instead, we should look out for Christ’s interest which is people.” As believers, we want people to look to Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
We want people who are stressed to look to Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Each believer can offer hope to those around them by following Christ’s command to be a sower of the seed of God’s Word with these principles of gardening in mind:
- SOW PURPOSEFULLY
(Matthew 13:3) “…Behold, a sower went forth to sow,” We are to convey to sinners & seekers the truths of God’s Word.
- SOW PROLIFICALLY
(Galatians 6:7) “…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
God’s principle is that we reap in proportion to the quality and quantity of the seeds we sow. The more we sow, the more fruit we can potentially produce. So, sow the seed liberally.
- SOW PRAYERFULLY
(Matthew 9:37 - 38) “…The harvest truly is plenteous but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” We must obediently sow & prayerfully request God to bless what we have done & to add what He alone can do.
- SOW PATIENTLY
(James 5:7) “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.” After preparing for planting & sowing the seed, patiently wait for the results which God will enable to grow.
- SOW PASSIONATELY
(Psalms 126:5) “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Our love for Christ compels us to sow the Gospel seed.
The prophets spoke of many times when the sowing and harvesting of fields would be interrupted by famine, pestilences, & wars, but offered hope in each of their messages as the author, Philip Yancey addresses in the following thoughts.
Excerpts from “One Last Message” by Philip Yancey
No summary of the prophets would be complete apart from one last message: their loud insistence that the world will not end in “universal final defeat,” but in Joy. They spoke in foreboding times to audiences filled with fear, and often their dire predictions of droughts and locust plagues and enemy sieges fueled that fear. But always, in every one of their seventeen books, the prophets of the Old Testament got around to a word of hope. The wounded lover will recover from his pain, Isaiah promises: “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.” (Isaiah 54:7)
For the prophets, human history is not an end to itself but a transition time, a parenthesis between Eden and the new heaven and new earth still to be formed by God. Even when everything seems out of control, God is firmly in control, and someday will assert himself.
So, let’s look forward as sowers with joy and hope as we plant our Spring gardens in the midst of this difficult time and await God’s harvest.
Revelation 22:21 –“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
**Principles for sowing the seed adapted from an article by Shannon Dyess in the Bible Broadcasting Network’s magazine The Voice, April 2003.