ONEprayer Devotion – Day 6
GOD’S FINAL HARVEST
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
Fortunately, we have some help in understanding this parable because Jesus explains it to his disciples (Matt. 13:36-43). It’s important to note that the image of the harvest changes with this story. Instead of the harvest being a great reaping that draws many into God’s kingdom, in this parable, the harvest represents the final judgment at the end of the age (Matt. 13:39). This is the end-times harvest referred to in Rev. 14:15-20.
We recently top-dressed our thick, but slow-growing, Zoysia lawn. In some places, we used a lot of top dressing and the grass died underneath the added soil. This was an open invitation for weeds and all sorts of grass types to invade the rich topsoil. I have no idea where the seeds came from, but our lawn became a mess. We knew that our only hope was to deal with the weeds quickly, but unfortunately, some of the numerous new grasses looked a lot like Zoysia to our inexperienced eyes. Sometimes we ripped up weeds and at other times it turned out to be new clumps of Zoysia. We tried hard but, in the end, we gave up. Our lawn is now Zoysia plus.
According to Jesus, that’s what is happening in his kingdom. The Zoysia and the look-alike weeds are growing together. It’s not usually our job to decide which is the real thing. We are a mixed bunch. Throughout its history, the church has done some wonderful things and some very wrong things. This is evidence that good seeds and weeds have grown together. Weeds get in with the healthy grass, and often we struggle to tell them apart. It’s difficult to know what is really driving people or what their behaviour is like when they are not in the spotlight. This is frustrating at times, but we need to accept that it’s what God allows for the moment.
But don’t think that it doesn’t matter to God. He sees right through us. God has no doubts as to who is with him and who is not, and in the end, he will reveal all. When the final harvest comes, Jesus says that the weeds will be thrown “into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (13:42). We thank God for his mercy towards us, but we also celebrate his justice. At the moment, it may seem that people get away with evil as the wheat and weeds grow together. There is often nothing we can do about it. However, remember that God sees and remembers. He knows what weeds look like. He will finally expose and punish. Our God is both loving and just.
This parable has at least two implications for harvest workers. First, what we are doing is crucial work. We’re not only sharing the good news of a loving God who reaches out to us through the sacrifice of Jesus, and who offers freedom and life and purpose in this life. We are also sharing hope for eternity – freedom from God’s certain judgment and assurance that God’s people will “shine like the sun” in his beautiful new kingdom. There is a huge amount at stake.
Second, our role is not to decide who is worthy of God’s grace. As soon as we make some specific behaviours the test of true faith, we are trying to do God’s job and we are sure to root out good seeds along with the weeds. I’m not saying that we don’t encourage biblical lifestyle and character. That is what discipleship is all about. And there is a place for church discipline, especially when hypocrisy is detected. But God’s grace and justice go way beyond ours and so our primary role is to love and accept and forgive and share the gospel and let God do his work in his way.
READY FOR HARVEST STORY:
HILLCREST CHRISTIAN COLLEGE
It was a normal chapel service for the Middle School of Hillcrest Christian College (Reedy Creek, Gold Coast), a QB school. 500 students and staff filed into the auditorium. The band was playing. After the usual welcome, the students worshipped and then listened to the guest speaker. Behind the scenes, a group of people had gathered to pray for God’s Spirit to be poured out. This year the School’s Executive, together with Reedy Creek Baptist (who planted the school) are praying for revival. Suddenly, towards the end of the chapel service, God turned the ordinary into something extraordinary.
When the speaker gave the appeal for people to come forward and accept Christ as Lord and Saviour, hundreds of students streamed to the front. It was incredible. One student told me that the service was “inspirational”. During the rest of the day, students were given the opportunity to be prayed for or to debrief their experience. The following week, about two weeks before Easter, God moved again, this time during the Senior School’s service. Hundreds again came forward.
Letters went home to families explaining what had been happening. The school invited youth pastors across the southern Gold Coast to come on campus to disciple those who desired it, and students and their families were invited to attend local churches. On Easter Sunday at Currumbin Beach, Reedy Creek Baptist baptised two students (with their parent’s permission) who had responded in chapel. Mosaic Baptist also says that this revival impacted their teenagers. I have spoken with several parents who have told me that what is happening is still having a significant impact on their children. One teacher, who was on long service leave when God moved, has said that the atmosphere of the school has changed significantly. Praise God for what He is doing and please pray for the 1600 students at the school.
PRAYER POINTS FROM OUR MOVEMENT
Praying that God will continue to keep Christian RI in schools and open new doors for RI into schools (including Hilder Road SS) that are presently closed. Also, that God would raise up new teachers for this amazing ministry so that the Good News of Jesus may continue to be effectively shared with students and teachers throughout Qld.
The Gap Baptist
Dear God, we lift up the QCCC Internship to you and thank you for the youthful energy the young adults bring. We pray that you would be transforming their hearts and renewing their minds, making them more like Jesus. Please build in them a passion to impact each child they work with for you, as they may be the only Godly experience that these children have in their life. And God, please help us who are leading the interns to lead in wisdom and humility. Use this internship for your glory. Amen
Queensland Conference & Camping Centres (QCCC)
That God would expand our witness in the Brisbane Valley as we move into our new premises.
Toogoolawah District Baptist Church
We ask that the Lord would move in our hearts so that we passionately look for opportunities to share his Gospel with our community and that through the convicting of his Holy Spirit we would see people come to know him as Lord and Saviour.
Renew Baptist Church
We’re seeing that as we participate in Jesus’ mission to be disciples who make disciples that God is multiplying his church. God is inviting us to be praying with greater trust in him and we’re asking Jesus what big step of obedience he wants us to be taking into the future as we multiply.
Rivers Baptist Church
That God would lead us to find a building to lease/buy for our church start up and Karenni congregation in Logan.
New Heart Baptist
Thank you Father for the ministry of the Gospel of salvation in this community through this church for 70+ years. Our prayer is as we look forward to the rest of 2023, this ministry will strengthen and flourish as we serve and honour You and glorify your name.
Salisbury Baptist Church
We are heading out to Emerald, Longreach and back from June 23 to July 9: Praying for safety and that God will encourage one and all. That we will be servants and His name Glorified.
KawanaLife Baptist Church