Proverbs 31:16 (NIV)
She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
I am not really sure if he is one or an army. All that I am certain is that he is a destructive little pest who is intent of tunneling through every inch of our earthworm rich soil. Walking from the backdoor to the trash can is treacherous, so I send my husband. The ground looks intact but with each step – his work is apparent as the dirt gives way. We have tried to get rid of him but he is a crafty one. The struggle is real. I thought of our destructive invader this morning as I considered my field. Like any good Proverbs 31 woman, she considers a field, buys it, and out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. One would imagine that this is implying that she is a good businesswoman and investor who budgets and spends profitably. This morning though in the middle of the Daniel Fast 2016, I feel a tugging on my heart to consider my field. What is my treasure? Do I want a rich vineyard to turn a nice profit? Who doesn’t? The Lord has promised to supply my every need. To give seed to the sower. He tells me that in my obedience I will prosper becoming the lender not the borrower. His Blessing adds no sorrow with it. Yet, deep down in the recesses of my heart I am profoundly impressed that this is not the field of consideration. The Lord is My Portion. He is My Provider. He has proven to be faithful and true too many times to recount. When I look at my life now, it is so much more than I ever thought possible. Yet, I am humbled to think I have not yet considered the greatest treasure in my life.
Matthew 13:44 (NIV)
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
The Kingdom of Heaven is the greatest treasure of my life. Yet some times, maybe more than sometimes, okay most of the time, I have taken for granted the Gift that I have been given making it something that it is not. How? We take the treasure of God’s Word, His Way and even His Will to twist for our own benefit and profit. Church becomes a business connection and social organization where you scratch my back and I will yours. Mult-level marketing is rampant in the church where people sit in back rooms signing up for the next “get-rich-quick” scheme rather than face down at the empty altar praying for revival. We are all guilty of it to some degree. We pray that the Lord will prosper our business, give us a new house, better car, and more money to be free to “serve” Him more. We have been given a treasure that lives in us. It is already in us – thought we do not cultivate it.
Our hidden treasure will bear fruit in our field. It begins with where we are and what we are doing today. To pursue the Lord wholeheartedly means we must treasure what we have not using it to get something of lesser value. When the man found the treasure in the field, he hid it. Like we hide God’s Word in our heart allowing the Holy Spirit to do something with it. He continued to be obedient until he could finally by the field. What if everything we need is already provided, but in our pursuit of lesser things – we have abandoned the field holding our reward? Sober thought. I know. Today I am considering the soil of my life and all the seeds around me. What am I doing with my field?
I Peter 4:7-10 (NIV)
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
If everything is created by God, it belongs to God. We cannot do anything to earn salvation or the favor given to us by our Father. This makes us stewards. We are given the opportunity to manage the Lord’s Affairs here on earth. We do not have to work for or earn anything simply learn to possess it. By His Grace we are saved, not of ourselves. The most valuable gift that I have is the Grace of God that allows me to step into righteousness through the Blood of Jesus Christ that will one day allow me to live with Him forever. What am I doing with THAT gift? Or like happens at my house, are there so many gifts that we are overwhelmed and fail to see the true gift of love given in the midst of God’s Blessing in our life? We must consider our field. We must distinguish what we treasure most and live for it. Life is busy. Our mind and thoughts cluttered by what others call reality to the extent we conform our thinking and try to make Christ fit into our life, wants, needs, and desires rather than stepping into the field He created for our prosperity. It is a field of souls. Men and women we encounter every day who need love and care. They need prayer. Looking for a Savior, do we take more from them or do we give them what we have – Jesus.
Be alert and of sober mind. This morning as I sit here and remind myself of the Love that I have been given with an abundance of grace and more grace, I have been reading I Peter 5 and decided that in my desire to prosper on the earth, I have neglected my field in God’s Kingdom. How?
I Peter 5:2-4 (NIV)
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
The sowing and reaping in my life is to care for my flock. The one that Christ entrusted to me by placing them in my life (my field) but too often we become consumed with building the house rather than filling the barn. Farmers plant more than they reap. When the harvest comes in, they take what is needed to survive and sow the rest back in the ground. However, we have become a generation of Christians who want to the Lord to pad our life and have abandoned our field. Sheep are dying. The field is unkempt. It is not our property that we are forsaking. The Master will not be gone forever. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. How are we living today? “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.” (Mark 13:33)
John 14:25-27 (NIV)
All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
We are experiencing a dilemma in our household as kids grow up and move away. Our fourth child only has two more years of high school and she will reach adulthood. Our baby girl is struggling right now being the youngest. She feels left behind like everyone is older, smarter and more loved than she is. Oh how I am not a fan of the tweenage years from about 11 to 15 years of age. I cannot convince her to enjoy these years and just let some time pass. It is not as tragic as it seems and before she knows it she will be doing all the things she thinks that she is missing out on now. She wants to jump ahead to the good part. I am the same way when the Lord lays something on my heart. I want to get to the good part sometimes overlooking the learning, growing and maturing that is needed to experience it.
In 2009, the Holy Spirit laid it on my heart to meet with God like this every single day and record our time together. I did simply out of obedience without real expectation other than to someday maybe write a book. For years, I have wanted to memorize scripture and know more about God’s Word. Seven years later, I have but not as I expected to. Daily the Lord sows seed in my heart and I just stuff it in. What I didn’t know is that He was preparing me for an unseen battle to be waged in the future, when that battle came I survived through my relationship with Jesus Christ. It did not put a check in my mailbox, a new car in the garage or send me to a fabulous all-expense paid vacation. It saved the life of my son. God healed my son and delivered him from cancer despite the fact the enemy attacked his body five times in three years. On top of it all, insurance decided to stop paying because the price of life too high. The Lord knew what I needed. He knew how I would respond. He conditioned and prepared me to endure to the end. Our life is a completed work written by the Hand of God from beginning to end. It is important to keep our eyes on the prize we are after or this life will strip us of all we have. I know for a fact that without the Word planted in my heart and the Holy Spirit guiding me that I would have never made it through that terrible time. My good intentions did nothing. Money ran out. There was absolutely nothing I could do but trust the Lord. He did it, of course. He came through just like Him promised. I changed in the process. I am glad I did. It brought me back to my first love and the field I have been given that had been abandoned long ago.
Today is temporary. Tomorrow is not promised. When you look at your life through the Eyes of Jesus and faith in God it will never be a vision of things. Your treasure will become the souls in your field and reaching them for Christ. I will be 50 years old this year. I can hardly believe I have been alive that long. My doctor asked me how I am doing with the big 5-0. All I could do was smile. God has given me a great life. I have hope in Him. I am ready to cultivate my field like never before. It took me all this time to allow the Lord through His Word and Spirit to make my life a place for others to dwell. I am aware of the sheep in my field like never before and it is my heartfelt desire to be the shepherd that the Lord has called me to be. When I plant goodness, mercy, love, patience, and forgiveness there, others will come into it. I have found the treasure in my field and now intend to sell all that I have giving my life away to possess it.
Luke 15:3-7 (NIV)
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
What a word for my life today? She considers her field… and buys it. Now all in, she takes her earnings to plant a vineyard. Wisdom is our “earnings” of God. To live more than one moment in His Presence plants seeds that will yield a harvest and others will come. I am humbled yet again to realize that in all my well-doing I often miss my truly calling to shepherd the sheep in the field called my life. The enemy has come in like the pesky mole trying to destroy the ground and keep seeds of love and grace to grow there. I become distracted and lack focus when I am to be alert and sober minded. Thank you Lord that your grace is enough for me on the days that I realize though I have come so far, I still have so far to go. Thank you for the hope that I have in You to maybe get some of it right. Today help me focus on one sheep. One person who I can share the Love of God with and lead them to the Gate. You are the Gateway of Faith that leads to confident hope so that I do not have to depend on this world or expect anything from it. I have you Lord who satisfies my soul giving me peace that passes all understanding. Let my greatest treasure be the souls you have entrusted to me. May the works of my hand, words of my mouth and intention of my heart cause all of Heaven to rejoice as I lead one lost soul back to you! This is what you desire. You have asked me to consider my field and provide it for your use. I am ready.
John 10:7-16 (NIV)
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.