Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wise Men Still Seek Him

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Matthew 2:1-12 NKJV

As I sat in church last night watching our Christmas play, my attention was drawn to one of the young people playing the part of one of the wise men, and the fact that she was obviously very much into her part. Watching the story of Jesus' birth performed by young kids really reminds me not only of Christmas when I was young, but the fact that this story never gets old and should remain exciting to everyone no matter what age.

I am certainly excited to receive the gift that I know is coming for all who believe, and my prayer is that it comes as soon as I expect it to. To all of you who have written to wish me a Merry Christmas, I say thank you. My prayer is that all of you have a joyful holiday season remembering that Christmas is all about the most precious gift of all, the gift of God's Son to die for our sin so we may spend eternity with Him. I hope you have received that free gift by praying to our Father and accepting the salvation He has offered.

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Luke 2:1-16 NKJV

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Miracle of Hanukkah

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-14 NKJV

As we fast approach Christmas, the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ as our savior, there is another day of celebration which occurs that I believe all believers should have a working knowledge of. This week Jews around the world will celebrate the holiday known as Hanukkah. If you are not familiar with this holiday, or have always wondered why it is observed, I thought I would share again a study we did a few years ago on this celebration, and why it may be a very important one to be familiar with.

In Israel's history, after they had been released from captivity by the Babylonians, they returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple which had been destroyed when they were taken into captivity. A few hundred years later, around 175BC, Israel was under the rule of the Selucid Empire (Syria) and their king. This king, Antiochus IV, looted the temple, stopped the worship, and effectively outlawed the practice of Judaism. A revolt began and the end result was that in 165BC the king was overthrown and the Jews were able to resume worship in their temple. The trouble was, they discovered that when they went to relight the Menorrah, or lampstand in the temple, there was only enough oil to burn for one day. Since this oil was specially consecrated by the priests for use, it would take days to prepare more.

However, a miracle occurred in that the one day supply of oil burned for eight days allowing time for the priests to prepare more. Although not one of the seven feasts of Israel ordained by God in the Old Testament, it is a very important celebration in Israel and is even referred to in the New Testament. During Hanukkah, the people celebrate by lighting one light each night for eight nights using what is known as a Hanukkah Menorah with eight branches on a single main stem as opposed to the Menorah used in the Temple which has six branches off of the main stem.

So why do I bring this up? I suppose because I find so many interesting things associated with this celebration that we as believers can and should be aware of. So I want to take a little time examining some of these things just in case we can find something which will not only encourage us in our faith, but quite possibly give us a few clues to that all important day we are all looking forward to.

So first of all, lets talk about the Menorah. Of all the objects to be found in the Temple, I think the Menorah was probably the most impressive. A description of it is found in Exodus 25 where God instructs Moses on how to construct it.

"You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its [ornamental] knobs, and flowers shall be [of one piece]. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three bowls [shall be] made like almond [blossoms] on one branch, [with] an [ornamental] knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond [blossoms] on the other branch, [with] an [ornamental] knob and a flower--and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself four bowls [shall be] made like almond [blossoms, each with] its [ornamental] knob and flower. And [there shall be] a knob under the [first] two branches of the same, a knob under the [second] two branches of the same, and a knob under the [third] two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. Their knobs and their branches [shall be of one piece]; all of it [shall be] one hammered piece of pure gold. You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays [shall be] of pure gold. It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils.
Exodus 25:31-39 NKJV

Notice how ornate this object was, and how much care had to be taken to make it. Notice too how specific God was with His instructions on how it was to be made. Here is what I get from reading this description. First of all, God is very specific when He says that there are six branches, three on each side, emanating from a main shaft. Why is that important? Type in "menorah" in your search engine and read some of the results. I bet every one of them describes a menorah as a "seven" branched candlestick. Am I being picky here? I don't think so. I believe the picture God paints for us here is very important, and often missed. I think most of you are probably familiar with the following verse;

"I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 NKJV

"Without me you can do nothing". I would think we should consider that a rather important statement by our Lord. You see, something has to support the branches. I guess that is why they call them branches, they "branch" off from something else. When I look at a picture of the menorah I see one main shaft from which branches grow. Is this the picture God intended for us to see? I really think it is, and I think I can give you something more to help consider that possibility. The branches get what they need not from themselves, but from the vine itself which has roots. So in essence, the main vine is the most important part of the picture. The vine supports the branches, not the other way around. Have you ever seen a vineyard when it is pruned? I live in wine country, and am surrounded by vineyards and wineries. After a vine is pruned I can tell you they look like stumps. Yet they aren't dead, and have plenty of life inside which manifests itself in the spring when the branches begin to grow. So the first thing I see when I look at a menorah is Jesus as the main shaft supporting the branches which symbolize all those who choose to believe.

Let's now consider the purpose of the lamp itself which is to give light. The purpose of having a lamp is to give light when it is dark in order to show us the way to walk without stumbling over something we would not ordinarily see. If God is showing us a picture of His Son as a lamp, with those who believe as the branches whose purpose is to give light, can we find another part of scripture to support that thought?

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 8:12 NKJV

So if Jesus is the light of the world and the main shaft or vine, as His branches we have that light as well with the ability to give light. Jesus told us that in the book of Matthew where He says this;

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 NKJV

So what I see here is this, a lampstand such as the menorah gives light two ways. One, it shines light outward to fight the darkness that surrounds it. But two, the branches also send light inward, lighting up the shaft itself. When the world looks at the lamp, not only do they see the effect of the light it produces, but they see the lamp itself. So the second thing I think of when I see a menorah is Jesus as the light of the world, not only giving light but being glorified (lit up) by those who believe.

Then of course we come to the reason behind the celebration of Hanukkah, and that is the miracle of the oil. Obviously a lamp without oil cannot give light, so the oil is probably the most important part of the picture we are looking at here. Throughout the Bible it is plainly seen and accepted that oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament kings and priests were annointed with oil as a sign they were being "consecrated" and filled with the spirit. In Zechariah we see that the prophet was shown a vision of a lampstand with oil dripping into it and when he asks what it signifies is he is told;

So he answered and said to me: "This [is] the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.
Zechariah 4:6 NKJV

We also know Jesus told His disciples that they were going to receive the Holy Spirit as a gift and just what the results of that gift would be.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Acts 1:8 NKJV

When we become believers and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit we receive the "oil" we need to light our lamps. We have the power we need to live the life God expects from us and "light" the world with the deeds that will bring glory and honor to God. It also gives us the strength we need to let our light shine in the midst of the darkness we seem to be finding ourselves surrounded by more and more as we get closer to the end of this age. So I guess this is the third thing I see and think about when I look at a menorah, and that is the oil of the Holy Spirit which lights up the world through those who believe.

Hanukkah might be considered a "Jewish" holiday, but I hope from this study you can see that it can be a beautiful picture of our life with God through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. When I think of Hanukkah and see a menorah I remember Jesus as the vine, we as the branches, and the Holy Spirit as the oil which helps us shine the light of Christ in a world increasingly filled with darkness.

Many of you know that God instituted seven Holy, or Feast Days for the nation of Israel after He had delivered them out of bondage in Egypt, but there is the possibility that some of you might not know that Hanukkah is not one of them. Yet it is a very important celebration for the nation of Israel, and even acknowledged by Jesus in the New Testament. (John 10:22) For that reason, as well as others, I became interested in studying this holiday to see what I could discover about it that might have implications or instruction for us as believers today.

We have discussed the Menorah and some thoughts concerning what it might represent especially in light of how it is constructed. You will recall my feeling that the branches light the center stem, which I look at as Jesus, the light of the world. I also mentioned that the branches represent us as believers, reflecting the light of Jesus Christ to an unbelieving, or dark world. I want to explore that a little more today and then suggest a possible implication related to the rapture of the Church.

There should be no question in our minds that Jesus is indeed the Light of the world. I think the passage from John 1 makes that pretty clear, but if that is not enough, consider the following words from Jesus;

I have come [as] a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.
John 12:46 NKJV

So there I was thinking about Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Light, and the fact that John, as well as Jesus said He came into this world as a light, when something else crossed my mind. If you have followed me for a while, you know how much I don't believe in coincidences, so let me share another one with you. The following paragraphs are from a study in December of 2008 called “Christmas in September”.

The best indication, however, of just when Jesus was born can be found in the first chapter of Luke when we are told of the conception and birth of Jesus' cousin John the Baptist. When we are introduced to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, we are told in verse 5 of chapter 1 that he was a priest "of the course of Abia", or Abijah. It says also that he was beginning his service in the temple when he was told by the angel Gabriel that he was about to become a father. We know from 1 Chronicles 24:10 that the course of Abijah was the eighth course to serve in the temple. This would mean his service would have ended around the month of July. Assuming a normal term of pregnancy, John would have likely been born around April of the next year.

Why is this important to our question of when Jesus was born? If we look at Luke 1:36 we see that when Gabriel visited Mary to tell her about what was about to happen to her, he also said that Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist and Marys' cousin, was in her 6th month of pregnancy. This means that Jesus was to be born approximately 6 months after John the Baptist. Look at John being born around April, and you end up with Jesus being born around September. Is it possible that Jesus was actually born in September rather than in December as we celebrate it?

Now many who have studied this subject consider it a very strong possibility that Jesus was not only born in September, but on the Feast of Tabernacles as well, because in verse 14 of the passage from John 1 the word translated "dwelt" is "tabernacled" in the Greek. So what does this have to do with Hanukkah, the Festival of Light? Just this, if you subtract a normal 9 month pregnancy from the Feast of Tabernacles you get a date of conception in December, right where we find the Festival of Light. If you believe as I do that life begins at conception, then when did the "Light" of the world arrive? Hanukkah? Interesting thought isn't it? Just coincidence? Well, just my opinion; not hardly!

I did, however, also mention this might have implications for the rapture of the church. How is that? Well, if we the Church, the Body of Christ, are a "light" in this world of darkness, reflecting the "light of Christ" to an unbelieving world, is there a possibility that "light" would leave on the anniversary it first "arrived"? If the past is any indication, we know God has allowed numerous historical events to occur on the anniversaries of His feast days, so why would it be a surprise if He did it again on this day?

Am I predicting a Hanukkah rapture? No, but truth be told, I for one would not be surprised at all. What I get from studying Hanukkah is just more conviction of my personal responsibility to shine my light as bright as I can to a world that seems to be getting darker every day. And if you may have stumbled onto this blog by accident and question where you may spend eternity, may I encourage you to pray to Jesus Christ and confess your sins, ask Him to come into your life, and begin to experience a life filled with the "light of life". Simply pray the following prayer;

Jesus I know I am a sinner. I have sinned against you, but I know you loved me enough to send your Son, Jesus Christ to die for my sins and then rise from the dead so that I may live forever with You. Lord forgive me of my sins and come into my life and help me to begin to live for You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011


Righteous [are] You, O LORD, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about [Your] judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? [Why] are those happy who deal so treacherously?
Jeremiah 12:1 NKJV

Have you ever asked this question of God? I know I certainly have, and I am willing to bet it was for the same reasons many of us do. This question, and the emotion that produces it, are most often the result of something called frustration. Now frustration is most often a combination of two other feelings we all can relate to and those are anger and discouragement. Now speaking for myself, anger and discouragement generally follow when plans don't work out the way I wanted or expected them to. One thing I have noticed as well is that it really doesn't matter if they are life changing plans or just every day living and working around the house plans, if I want something and it doesn't work out I get frustrated.

The key to all of this though, at least in my opinion, is contained in one little letter and that is the letter “I”. It has taken me quite a while to come to the understanding in my own life that these emotions are really a result of my failure to understand that “I” don't have nearly as much control over life as I wish I had. So often we make plans expecting certain results without acknowledging that we probably don't have the power to control the outcome. Then when circumstances occur which foil our best laid plans we get frustrated, angry and discouraged.

When this happens in the believers life, quite often the result is the question we find in Jeremiah. Why? Because it seems natural for us to look around in our frustration and see others who have what we want, and who possibly got it at our expense by obtaining it in a way that as believers we could never do. We then look to God and ask why, as if it's God's fault we are frustrated because we certainly deserve whatever it was we wanted. Something I noticed though in all of this, is a point made when we ask this question of God in the first place. You see, if we ask this question of God are we not then acknowledging that He is in control and has the power to affect the outcome? If so, then doesn't it follow that the result was according to His will?

There are three points I believe we need to understand in order to deal with the frustration we often experience as a result of the realization that we don't control our own circumstances, and that God does.

God knows us.

"I am the good shepherd; and I know My [sheep], and am known by My own.
John 10:14 NKJV

Now it's important to understand that this verse is not saying that God just knows who we are. It is much more than that. The word for know in the Greek is ginōskō; to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel, to become known, to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of, to understand, to know. You see, what we are being told here is that God knows us better than we know ourselves. That being the case, it follows that God knows what is best for us as well. As parents, how often do we say no to something our children really want because we know that it isn't the best thing for them. As they grow older, those circumstances might change, but we make those decisions based on our knowledge. God knows us, and if we acknowledge that He is in control, shouldn't we accept whatever comes without frustration, anger and discouragement?

God has a plan for us.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV

The word for “know” used here in the Hebrew has the same meaning as the one in John. So not only are we being told that God knows us, we are being told that He has a plan for our life that predated our birth! In His perfect knowledge, God has laid out the course of this world, and made a special place for you and me. Before He even created this world, He had a plan and knew exactly what part we were going to play in it. When we try to control our own lives, or argue with God when things don't go as we planned, in reality we are telling God He doesn't know what He is doing. In effect, we are telling God we need something to make us happy, and He is telling us that in order to be happy we need to go along with His plan.

God will take care of us.

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 4:19 NKJV

It took me quite a while to understand that happiness was not getting what I wanted, but rather enjoying what God has given me. I always seem to find myself falling into the trap of deciding I need something and making plans to get it rather that just sharing with God what I think I would like and waiting to see if He gives it to me. If God has promised to take care of us, why do we constantly try to do it ourselves? I can't help but think of Eve in the Garden of Eden deciding she really needed what God told her she didn't need, and look at the result of that. If you think about it, how much sense does it make to disagree with a Holy God who knows the future?

Does this mean we are not supposed to have desires or make plans for our futures? Not at all, but what it does mean is that you give them to God with the acknowledgment that He is in control and if it is His will for them to work out, they will. On the other hand, if those plans do not work out you understand that in His perfect knowledge, God has other plans for you. Oh, and let's not forget those who might appear to have what we want because they are willing to do anything to get them. The wicked prosper because Satan wants it to appear that his way is better than God's. God calls them “wicked”, and while at first it appears they are happy because they have what they want, in the end we find they have nothing at all because God promises the wicked get what they deserve.

Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring [it] to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret--[it] only [causes] harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked [shall be] no [more]; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it [shall be] no [more]. But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Psalms 37:4-11 NKJV

How often do we try and tell God what He should do? Really? I constantly ask myself how dumb am I to try and argue with the God of the universe who knows the future! I may have a plan, but it is God alone who already knows if it will result in my happiness or sorrow. So let Him lead.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if [there is any] wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV

Keep watching.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our Primary Purpose

"The sower sows the word. “
Mark 4:14 NKJV

A question was put to me this week that really made me stop and think for a while about the subject I want to talk about today. I was part of a discussion that concerned the state of the body of Christ at this particular point in time, and if it was indeed fulfilling it's purpose as Jesus intended. As I thought about that, I began to remember many times in my life when the question of efficiency was raised while I was being instructed on how to do something.

One of my first jobs as a youth was working in the construction industry in southern California during the housing boom of the seventies. It was here that I first heard the phrase “time is money”. It was, of course, being told to me by a journeyman carpenter who was not at all impressed with the results I was producing. As I continued to work under him he began to show me how easily the results of my labor could be affected by distractions and a tendency to get caught up doing something I thought was important but in the end actually took away from the main job I was given.

During the discussion I had this week about the purpose of the body of Christ, I couldn't help but be reminded of this situation in my past because questions about the “efficiency” of the church were some of the first to be raised. You see, many believers who heed the call to watch as Jesus instructed have noticed a tendency of some to get sidetracked by their “watching” and the result of that appears to be neglect of the main purpose of the church which is sharing the gospel with an unbelieving world. The conclusion arrived at by the end of the discussion this week was that these believers are so busy focusing on certain dates for the rapture, arguing in support of doctrinal positions on the tribulation and other questions regarding eschatology that they completely forget what Jesus said we are here to do.

That in turn prompted me to think about our purpose here, and the first thing that came to mind was the first parable that Jesus shared with His followers, and the importance He placed on it. Not only was the parable of the sower the first to be shared, Jesus also makes it clear that it is the key to all that follows. It's also reasonable to conclude that Jesus begins by telling us what our primary purpose here on earth is, and just exactly how to go about it.

Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. "And it happened, as he sowed, [that] some [seed] fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. "Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. "Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. "But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. "And some [seed] fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. "But other [seed] fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred." And He said to them, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Mark 4:3-9 NKJV

Just so there is no misunderstanding about what believers are supposed to do and what exactly we are to sow, Jesus makes it as clear as He can.

And He said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? "The sower sows the word.
Mark 4:13-14 NKJV

The purpose of the church, and all who choose to believe, is to sow the word of God. Do we all have different gifts? Certainly, but we should never get so caught up in exercising our individual gifts, or following what we might believe is our special “calling” that we forget our primary purpose is to share the gospel with an unbelieving world.

"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
"For [the kingdom of heaven is] like a man traveling to a far country, [who] called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. "And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. "Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. "And likewise he who [had received] two gained two more also. "But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. "After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' "His lord said to him, 'Well [done], good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' "He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' "His lord said to him, 'Well [done], good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 'And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, [there] you have [what is] yours.' "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 'So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
Matthew 25:13-27 NKJV

A few years back I attended a class where believers were discussing this parable and the question was raised about working while watching. An elderly man began to smile as he shared a story with the class that illustrated this question to perfection. The county fair was in full swing and he and his brothers and sisters were anxious and impatient to attend. Finally the day came and their parents promised them that they would all go just as soon as they (the parents) returned from a trip to the feed store which was a few hours away.

The kids were so excited to see their parents drive up the driveway that they ran out to meet them dressed and ready to go. Imagine their disappointment when they were told no one was going anywhere just yet. You see, they had been so excited and filled with anticipation while watching for their parents to return that they had neglected to do their chores. They had to go back in the house, change their clothes, go out and do all that was expected of them before they could go to the fair.

In this passage Jesus makes it clear that even though we are commanded to watch for His return, we are expected to “do our chores” so to speak. As believers we have already been told what is expected of us, and that is to sow the word of God. If our watching is causing us to be distracted from spreading the gospel, I suggest it's time to realign our priorities. We can watch as we work, so may we never forget to work at sharing the message of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

If you are reading this today and have never made the decision to ask Jesus to come into your life and accept the gift of salvation He has offered you I urge you to do it right now. Simply pray to Him and confess that you are a sinner in need of salvation, and then ask Him to forgive you of your sins. Tell Him you believe that He died on the cross to take your place and because of that you want to turn your life over to Him. If you do that you have His promise that you are saved.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
John 1:12 NKJV

Keep watching. (and sowing)