Category Archives: ministry

March 15

man riding boxer motorcycle on road
Photo by Pete Johnson on Pexels.com

—Matt.21:33-41 The Parable of the Vineyard

Characters in this parable:

  1. Householder/landowner—he planted the vineyard, put a wall around it, and dug a winepress and tower
  2. Husbandmen/vine-growers—the householder rented it to them
  3. Servants/slaves—householder sends HIS servants to the vineyard that THEY might receive the fruit
    1. Husbandmen took the servants and beat, killed, stoned them

(This action repeated several times)

  1. Son—sent by the householder

Spiritual application:

  1. Husbandmen kill him God is planting His Word into His people
  2. Pastors (Jewish culture: chief priests) are caring for His “vineyard”
  3. Pastors? As well?
  4. Jesus—sent by His Father in heaven.

Not sure who the husbandmen would parallel today. A church hierarchy where corruption is taking place or perhaps just a pastor and staff?

Jesus asks what the householder should do.

Their response: Householder should destroy the husbandmen and let out the vineyard to others which will pay the husband his due.

THEY KNEW THAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THEM!!! And sought to seize him BUT feared the people!

It’s always helpful to look before and after a passage to gather more context. We just looked at the Parable of the Two Sons which basically teaches obedience to the Father. Tomorrow, we will look at Matthew 22, which opens with the parable of the king who is preparing a wedding banquet for his son. Friends, who were invited, make excuses why they couldn’t attend.

Does that shed any light on today’s parable? What is a parable anyway? Simply put, a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Jesus is constantly using physical examples to teach Gospel truths. So, today’s parable…

APPLICATION for me: Keep in the middle of the road.

I hear them angels calling loud:
Keep in the middle of the road,
They’s awaitin’ there in a great big crowd,
Keep in the middle of the road.
I see them stand ’round the big white gate,
We must travel along for we get too late,
For it ain’t no use for to sit down and wait
Right in the middle of the road

Refrain:

Then, children, keep in the middle of the road
Children, keep in the middle of the road
Don’t you look to the right, don’t you look to the left!
But keep in the middle of the road.

I ain’t got time for to stop and talk
(Keep in the middle of the road)
‘Cause the road am rough and it’s hard for to walk,
(Keep in the middle of the road)
I’ll fix my eye on the golden stair,
And I’ll keep on a-going till I get there
‘Cause my head am bound for the crown to wear
Keep in the middle of the road.

Come and join our weary band
(Keep in the middle of the road)
Cause we’re bound for home in the happy land
(Keep in the middle of the road)
Turn your back on this world of sin
Just knock at the door, and they’ll let you in
Cause you’ll never gonna get such a chance again
Keep in the middle of the road.

This world am full of sinful things,
Then keep in the middle of the road, oh yeah!
When your feet get tired, just put on them wings,
Keep in the middle of the road.

If you lay down in the road and die,
You can watch them angels in the sky,
You can put on wings and get up and fly,
Keep in the middle of the road.

` African Spiritual

 

Now, why would I say that? Well, the husbandmen lost sight of the goal: they were working for the King! They got greedy and wanted all the glory which was due the householder.

Ministry is not easy. Being a born-again believer who is sold out for God is not easy in any generation, and if we’re not careful, we’ll look to the right and get too caught up in some theological, denominational, or standard issue or more concerned about numbers or our reputation, which draws us away from the real goal—serving the King.  And if we’re not careful, we’ll look to the left and get all caught up in the trinkets and baubles that the world dangles in front of our noses at every turn and we’ll fall in that ditch and forget—we’re here to serve the King!

My husband and I have watched several TV shows lately that are centered around the White House. We often hear this statement: I serve at the pleasure of the President. I’m so glad I serve that the pleasure of the King of Kings! I’ll never fall in the ditch if I keep my eyes on Him!

Lovely Childish Ways

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

sammy.jpgToday, I was once again reminded of this verse. We often think of its meaning for conversion, but perhaps we would do well to apply it to life! Become as a child—what does that mean or look like? Well, a little child…

  • Is completely dependent on his Father
  • Does not pay the bills
  • Does not plan the future
  • Does not buy the groceries
  • Is blissfully ignorant of all life’s trials. Mom may be secretly shedding tears of grief and anguish as a child chatters on about all that is important to her. (I wonder if my heavenly Father sometimes feels like this! 😦 )
  • Does not worry about problems
  • Smiles a lot
  • Enjoys simple pleasures
  • Does not expect great things
  • Simply trusts

That’s where I need to be. I’m not talking about shirking responsibilities or having my head in the sand, but there are so many disappointments that I cannot change, especially in the ministry.  I cannot make folks come to church, read their Bibles, make right choices, be unselfish, think of others or a whole host of other things that will help them to shine as they draw closer to God. All I can do is live it before them, pray for them, and perhaps give a word in season to them. How freeing is that!!! Sigh! Oh, how nice to be God’s child!

Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

~ Jean Sophia Pigott

Excellent Health

bunch of white oval medication tablets and white medication capsules
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I recently had my yearly check-up (which I try to stretch into two years!) and was asked to rate my health: excellent, good, fair, or poor. Hmm. It’s hard to give myself excellent in anything—that’s just how I’m wired, but as I talked with the nurse she assured me that it was OK! Then, after my exam, the doctor said that I was in excellent health! Really? Excellent? Well…

My biggest problem is my cholesterol at 241. 😦  I’ve struggled with it for the past several years and have been able to bring it down somewhat. I know that the numbers are to be @200, but I REALLY don’t want to be on medication already. So, for the past few months, I’ve worked to take off some weight and am taking Red Yeast Rice. The question is this: Is 241 an acceptable number and how can I say that my health is excellent with high cholesterol. (Oops! That’s two questions!)

Anyway, here are my thoughts: The doctor labeled my health as excellent because of all the other factors: don’t smoke, not diabetic, good eating habits, etc.. Now the question is, where do I go from here? Do I sit back and say, “I’ve made it! Excellent health!” and then stop exercising and eat doughnuts? For me, the report was a great blessing and it has encouraged me to work harder. I’ve hit one goal, so how about five more pounds.  What would that do for my cholesterol? How exciting!

What’s the point? Whether we are ministry leaders, parents, teachers, coaches, or leaders in the community, we need to remember to encourage those who look to us for leadership and example. If we continually say, “Well, it’s just not good enough,” our fellow believers, children, students, team members, etc. will become discouraged.  They may even quit or rebel against our leadership!

What kind of a leader are you? Can you give the truth without crushing the spirit? I believe the reason this scenario spoke so loudly to me is that for the last five or six years I have felt as though my numbers were never good enough.  I wanted to quit and yet I didn’t want to be foolish about my health. Can we look at the whole person and see where they are struggling and encourage them in their Christian walk without excusing sin? I believe we can and the secret ingredient is… the heart. Hmmm, I wonder if that is why “love” is the first attribute mentioned in the list of the fruit of the Spirit?

Tough Love—tough is the adjective, love is the all-important noun (in this case!)

And then there’s one last thought: What good is excellent health if my soul is unregenerate? I may live another 40 years! That would make me 99–29 more years than God prescribed for us in Psalm 90:10:

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

And so…

Having an “excellent” spirit is a hundred times more valuable than physical excellence in this world and the next!

 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Psalm 14:1

My Mission Field

 

cogan house viewThis photo is my desktop screen.  I LOVE it! It is also my mission field. You may say, “But where are all the people? What do you have, I ministry to cows?” No, but there are folks in them there parts! God did not call us to the foreign field or to the city.  He called us to a zip code which has about 3,000 spread over approximately 64 square miles. (VERY rough figuring!) That’s not a whole lot of people! But…

  • Are there people who have not trusted Christ as their Savior? YES!
  • Are their families that are broken? YES!
  • Are there families that are searching for the truth? YES!
  • Are there elderly who need to see Jesus? YES!
  • Are there teens who need hope? YES!
  • Are there children who need to hear the Gospel? YES!

What does your mission field look like? Do you have a mission field?  Is there something that God wants you to do? For example…

  • Does the cashier need a friendly word and smile from you? And maybe even a Gospel tract?
  • Does a neighbor need to know that you care?
  • Does a family member need help? Or even a heartfelt Gospel letter?
  • Could you bake a cake for a busy mom or even watch the kids while she goes for groceries?
  • Maybe someone in your church needs a listening ear or an encouraging phone call or a smiley face text.

All of these ideas are little seeds that may someday bring forth fruit! Go! Enjoy the summer! Plant some seeds in YOUR mission field! And maybe, just maybe, the Lord will even allow you to see some sprout!

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Matthew 10:42

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. John 4:35