In autumn, farmers work hard to harvest their crops and fruits, with sweat running down in beads. In spite of their hard work, they are happy because of the harvests to be stored in their barns. After the autumn harvest season, they enter a long winter rest. Now is the spiritual harvest time; we are gathering souls into the heavenly barn and we feel that Father is coming quickly. Looking forward to His coming, we must be completely ready to meet God.
Those who are filled with earthly desires dislike the story of heaven, while those filled with the Spirit fix their desires upon heavenly things and are interested only in them. For they have different levels of desire.
Those filled with worldly desires have no hope for heaven; they set their minds on earthly things, thinking only about visible things. So when we tell them to have hope for heaven, they are unwilling to hear. However, those filled with the hope of heaven do not lose interest in God’s word, even though they hear it over and over; studying God’s word every day, until late at night, they receive it with joy. They put their hope in heaven and earnestly long for the coming of God. That’s why they can do the work of the Holy Spirit with joy.
The day is drawing near when God will come. Now’s the time to get ready. Suppose a father returns home after a long absence. All his children, along with their mother, will prepare themselves to joyfully greet their father.
Likewise, we must be ready to receive our heavenly Father who is coming soon. What if we become drowsy and fall asleep without preparing ourselves when our Father comes after a long time? How will our Father feel when He finds us doing so? Let’s learn wisdom to be completely get ready for the coming of our Father, in the following passages:
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. …”Mt 24:42-47
The above passages show what we, living in the last days, should do. Without citing Biblical prophecies, many people including scientists and predictors also acknowledge that the world is coming to an end. Here, the Bible tells us that we must be ready, because Christ the Son of Man is coming soon.
The coming of Christ is drawing near. God talks of being a wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time. He who believes and obeys this word is a faithful Christian, ready to receive the coming Christ.
On the contrary, he who ignores and disobeys the word of God is a wicked servant; God makes him know His will through the Bible, but he didn’t do it because he didn’t believe His word.
“But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”Mt 24:48-51
The wicked servant says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time.’ He deserves to be punished by Christ who will come on a day when he does not expect Him. However, the wise servant says to himself, ‘My master is coming soon,’ and he makes himself ready to joyfully receive Christ when He comes.
We must not think that Christ will delay His coming but always be alert and ready, looking forward to His coming.
Let’s find out what it means ‘to give food at the proper time’ through the following teachings that Jesus gave us before His ascension.
… When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”Jn 21:12-17
Jesus told Peter three times, “Feed my sheep.” Carefully considering His word, we can see that there are three stages of feeding: “Feed my lambs,” “Take care of my sheep,” and “Feed my sheep.”
First, we should feed God’s lambs, led into truth, with proper spiritual food. As the lambs grow, we also need to take care of them. Jesus said, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Co 10:12). So we should take better care of semi-matured sheep, those somewhat matured in their faith. We still need to feed the matured sheep properly. Thus, he who gives spiritual food to God’s sheep at the proper time is the one who truly loves God, a wise and faithful servant of God deserving of His blessings.
The kingdom of heaven is drawing nearer and nearer. We must pay attention to God’s words and must be fully ready to receive Christ.
Man is defined as “labouring animal.” His basic purpose for laboring is to feed himself; and he, as the head of a family, works to feed and support his parents and children. The purpose of physical labor is the same as that of spiritual labor; it is “to feed.”
The wise and faithful servant is the man who loves God. With the loving heart, he feeds God’s flock with His words, the food of life, praying for them. When Christ finds him working so hard at His coming, he will be acknowledged as the most wise person.
It is not a difficult task. Every one of us can carry out the task, whatever our situation. We must strive to do our best for the work God has entrusted to His loving ones.
“Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, … ”Col 4:1-3
Jesus told us to be alert and especially to pray that God would open a door for preaching. When God’s lambs are gathered, we are to feed them and take care of them; even after they grow and mature, we should continually and affectionately feed them and care for them. This is how to love God. This is the way we can show our love for God.
“Romeo and Juliet” is a famous play by William Shakespeare. There is a scene where Romeo’s friends came looking for him but didn’t find him; for Romeo was only trying to see Juliet, not keeping company with his friends, after he was captivated by her. After falling in love, Romeo was changed. Thus, love causes changes in a person’s usual behavior and routine. If one loves God, his behavior gets changed. Preaching is an act of love for God.
“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs-he wants to please his commanding officer. … This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.”2 Ti 2:3-10
Paul endured everything and suffered joyfully to save many souls with the words of God. He is a great Biblical character who put his love for God into practice. Paul had such a passionate heart, and now many admire him for his faith and thought. To such a zealous person, God gives the crown of life.
In the presence of God and of Christ, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. … But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.2 Ti 4:1-8
Apostle Paul was a really wise person. He loved God and devoted himself wholeheartedly to preaching the gospel. So when he sensed his impending death, he could confidently say that the crown of righteousness was reserved in heaven for him.
As he was almost finishing the race, he rejoiced that the crown of life waited for him in heaven. We ought to follow his example by preaching the gospel, being ready in season and out of season, looking forward to the coming of God.
Christ said to us, “Feed My sheep,” and told us to pray that God would open for us a door for preaching and to do the work of an evangelist. Without doing the mission, we can’t understand God’s love.
Unless we participate in efforts to find the 144,000 and if they are all found by others, we can’t sense God’s love. Only through the fruits of our own labor and sacrifice can we realize how precious each single soul is and truly thank God for His saving love. Let’s think of God’s love through the following short story.
There was a rich farmer whose son was spending his days doing almost nothing productive. The farmer was worried about his son, for he would inherit his entire estate and manage it. If he continued in his present condition, he would soon squander his father’s fortune and be reduced to poverty.
One day the father called his son to him and said, “If you do not make your own money, I will not hand over my estate to you. I have worked so hard to make my fortune for my whole life. I’d rather give it to others than leave it to you so that you could squander it soon.”
He was perplexed at his father’s stern words, and hesitated to give a definite answer. Then his mother, who was always on his side, privately called him out and gave him ten coins. She told him to play outdoors all day long and come home in the evening and tell his father that he made that money.
The next day he went out and played all day, just as his mother had told him. In the evening he came back home and gave the ten coins to his father, saying that he earned it by himself. Then his father burst into a rage and said, “It is not the money you’ve earned, is it?” He threw the coins into the furnace. As his son was looking vacantly at it, the father whipped him mercilessly.
When the son went to his mother, she soothed him and gave him five coins, saying, “Your father could hardly believe that you earned ten coins a day because you’d been idling away your time. So, tell him that you made five coins this time.”
The next day, too, he played all day, and returned home toward evening. He gave five coins to his father, saying that he earned it by working. Then his father cast the coins into the furnace, saying, “It is not your hard-earned money, either, is it?” When he saw his son looking blankly at it, he became more angry and beat his son with a stick even more mercilessly.
He went crying to his mother, then she was perturbed and said, “It is impossible to deceive your father. Go and work by yourself. If you do not make money by working hard, your father will give all his properties to someone else.”
Realizing how serious the situation was, the son went to work the next day. He worked all day long and earned two coins. Then he joyfully returned home and gave the two coins to his father, who threw even his hard-worked money into the furnace. He was surprised and quickly took the coins out of the furnace in spite of the burning pain in his hands.
Then his father’s face became brighter. Smiling at his son, he said, “This is certainly the money you earned by yourself. One seldom minimizes the value of money earned by the sweat of the brow.”
Through the farmer’s heart toward his son, we can understand God’s heart toward us His loving children-why God has entrusted us with the mission of preaching.
People endure all suffering for the ones they love. If we really love God, we must put our love for Him into action. Let’s practice the perfect love of saving souls, leading them to the way of life.
It’s time for spiritual harvest. We’ve understood the love of Christ who atoned for our sins on the Day of Atonement; and we’ve received the blessing of the Holy Spirit like a shower at the Feast of Taber-nacles. Now, let’s prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ by bearing abundant fruit, giving spiritual food at the proper time to brothers and sisters in Zion.