[Thought questions for The Harvest and the Harvesters March 19, 2014]
1. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” Imagine us wretched creatures of this earth glorifying God the Father of all! He doesn’t see us as wretched at all, but as fallen sinners that He is ready to glorify and lift to the courts of heaven. Do our evangelists and gospel ministers ever use modern techniques of salesmanship to win converts? Should they? What is the difference between proselytizing and converting? Do you and I have the “irrepressible compulsion” to share God’s love with others? Can we obtain this? How?
2. Beggars’ Bread. If you knew you would suffer terribly before death, could you be comforted by Jesus’ promise to be with you no matter what? Or would you ask for a miracle to confirm His love for you? Suppose you have been caught in a flood and hear the words, “Turn this way. Come over here.” Then you see that the person calling you has fallen into the water as well. Will you question that person’s ability to direct you? Do you relish simple lessons and invitations direct from Scripture? Should you?
3. Jesus urging patience. Are we twenty-first century Adventist Christians ever impatient about how long we’ve waited for Jesus to come? Is patience considered a virtue these days? Why were the disciples required by God to wait for the Holy Spirit to arrive and bless them before launching their important work? “Wait and see.” Is that an important command for us? Or have we waited too long already for God to fill our hearts?
4. Authority. What is the most authoritative source of God’s will for us today? What power do the words of Jesus have? Is it comforting to you to know that the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” are the words of Christ. How can Jesus’ words lock and unlock heaven? Have you ever been given a task to do for the church and then told exactly how to do it? Do we ever try to put words into our children’s mouths? What sort of authority did Jesus give to His disciples? Does He give us the same authority today?
5. Laborers for the Harvest. Imagine owning a farm that has a good crop this year. But you can’t find anyone to help you with the harvest. What happens then? Are most or all of your friends Seventh-day Adventists? If so, why not make more friends with neighbors, co-workers, and other members of groups who don’t belong to your church? Or, instead of that, Why not rely on church-supported ministries with professional staff to bring in new members? They can do so much better than we can, so why not let them have all of the soul-winning experience? What sort of harvesters does God want?
6. Lost and Found. Should we associate with sinners? Won’t they contaminate us and lead us into sin? When the 777 aircraft was “lost,” why did so many nations join in trying to find the wreckage? Why did family members hold out hope that they would survive long after every possibility seemed to have expired? Should we think of our fellow earthlings as people facing certain death and eternal destruction? How can you and I help to rescue them without being impatient or judgmental? Or is it too late now? What should we offer every fellow human being? Will the Holy Spirit guide us in our words and actions?