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The Pulpit: Focus on the Harvest

Good and successful farmers spend very little time talking about issues at the local feed and seed store during harvest time. They are far too busy riding their combines and rushing to get the golden grain stored in the garner for wintertime. Repairs on the equipment have been done during the slow time, and the machinery is ready to begin when the sun is shining and the crops are ready for reaping. Every waking hour is spent in the field. Some combines are equipped with lights so they can continue to harvest after sundown and throughout the night. The bad weather may demand it! Focus means to "stay centered on important interests and activities; adjustment for distinctiveness or clarity." The eye of a camera takes its best picture when the focus is sharp and clear. But the photographer must keep it focused. If it is not focused correctly, the picture is blurred and sometimes ruined. Good things can distract the Church from the main thing of preaching the gospel. Feeding the poor, clothing the naked and housing the homeless are all taught in the Scriptures and should be done accordingly. It gives the church body a good feeling when we do good to others. But we must not allow any of the "good things" to distract us from the gospel. Another danger is seeking perfection before engaging in the harvest.

We must not stress that the Church has to be free from all imperfections before it can be effective in reaching the lost world. The harvest is ripe and ready to harvest. We cannot turn our focus on making corrections on the inside at the risk of losing the harvest. Keep doing good things; keep preaching and teaching righteous living. But while we are doing those things, keep going to the harvest field. We are commissioned to go to the highways and hedges, and compel them to come to the supper the Lord has prepared. The gospel is a transforming tool, turning men's hearts from sin to righteousness. This will cause society to be different. The gospel will bring a change in relationships, diminish drug and alcohol abuse, and bring a drop in crime. It is a challenge to all of us in the land of plenty to share with others who are in need. When we are made aware of children who need food, clothes, shelter and educational needs, let's open our hearts and pocketbooks and give to see them filled with joy. We need also to pray for the future of children, everywhere, that God will make them strong men and women of faith. The powerful gospel of Jesus Christ can change an entire nation just as easily as an individual. Satan fights hard to keep us from this potential weapon because it threatens his kingdom; but because the gospel is the greatest threat to his kingdom, the gospel will bring it down! This Church will never be engaged in any endeavor more important and meaningful than staying focused on the harvest.

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