October 24, 2016

A Harvest Warning

Hebrews 5:11-6:12

Land that . . . produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receive the blessing of God. . . . But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless. . . .

—  Hebrews 6:7-8

In the area where I live, the landscape and soil quality ­varies widely from one field to ­an­other. Some soil on hillsides is thin and rocky, and the wind quickly evaporates moisture that falls on it. Some fields are in low areas susceptible to flooding. Others are rich, flat, and ideal for producing crops.

A farmer would be foolish to tend a rocky hillside plot in the same way he tends a field rich in loam. The harvest of a poor field does not justify the ongoing costs of fertilizer, seed, fuel, and the toll on machinery.

The writer of Hebrews issues a strong warning about the harvest of our lives. Sometimes we become complacent about our walk with Christ. Finances, sports, fashion, and a host of other distractions keep us from spiritual growth. The words we read today are not intended to make sincere believers uneasy with the threat of judgment; instead they challenge our complacency by pointing to the seriousness of our calling.

Our hope as believers in Christ is not in what we have done. Still, what we do indicates our hope. A life based on anything other than Jesus’ saving work is thin and shallow. It will soon go out of production. But in Christ we are confident of better things—a harvest that accompanies salvation.

Holy God, we do not like to hear about the possibility of judgment. Yet we need this warning. Keep us from complacency. Send us your Spirit, that our faith in Jesus may grow. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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