I have some great memories of playing on the small farm at my Grandfathers, when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. It wasn't a huge farm by any means, but for an old City boy like me it was something special. I can remember that he had chickens running around everywhere; fields of corn; a fishing lake; and–my favorite–the old barn. I don't think I had ever seen a real barn before, but it was everything I had imagined. Lofts of hay were everywhere. At least one horse I can remember was in the barn. There were lots of places to climb and jump and explore. It was a dream world for someone my age.
I remember one particular afternoon, my grandfather decided that he needed to pick some of the corn from the fields and, worst of all, he decided that I needed to help. I can remember not being very excited about helping. I was in my own little world playing in the barn and the last thing I wanted to do at that time was learn how to gather corn from the field. Of course, I went along for the adventure but learned quickly that my hunches were right; I would have rather stayed in the barn.
My grandfather walked with me down the long rows of corn. As we were walking, he was explaining that if the corn wasn't picked soon, it would all rot and not be fit to eat. The timing was critical. I remember how tall the stalks of corn were, all over 6 feet tall. He showed me how to find the corn on the stalks and look for the corn that was ready to be picked. He then showed me how to take the corn off the stalk; put the freshly picked corn in a basket; and move on down the row to the next stalk. My memories of this farming adventure were not very positive. I remember how hot it was. The sun beaming down on us as we were sweating and itching while moving between row after row after row. I remember how isolated and lonely I felt at times. My grandfather had ventured off several rows from me and I can remember how scary that was. I was in this huge field of giant corn stalks, by myself, and not knowing which way to go if I had to go back to the barn. I also remember how hard it was. I had to look for the corn on the stalk, then look to make sure it was ready to be picked, then pick the corn and lug it around with my basket full of other corn that had been picked. I would much rather have been playing in the barn.
The Lord reminded me the other day of our verse in Matthew that says in part that the Harvest is plentiful, but the Laborers are few. I can see why. Just like my experience that day on the farm, our attempts to labor in God's Fields face the same obstacles:
- The Lord's work is uncomfortable sometimes. Remember, when we labor in the Lord's work, we trying to reach people that are usually resistant to God's word. There's often tension and friction and even conflict. Unfortunately, it takes endurance on our part to carry on even when the going is tough.
- The Lord's work is lonely sometimes. Many times I have worked on projects or events for the Lord and wondered why? I wondered why was I wasting my time when seemingly no one cared or noticed.
- The Lord's work is not easy. In most cases, the Lord leads in directions that will grow us and shape us. That's not usually comfortable. Its' much easier to stay where we are.
That corn on the cob later that day with dripping, melting butter was delicious. But, few, knew what was involved to get to that point of enjoyment. Timing is critical. We don't know how critical our part is in God's overall plan. If you and I are not obedient and don't follow God's direction, it may be too late for some.
Has the Lord called you to be a Laborer for HIM in a certain area? Is so, are you willing to work and endure the heat; loneliness; and difficulty of the Field of Harvest, or are you ready to return to the barn where it's comfortable?