Ministry is not always easy. Many times, it is grueling. Onlookers can only capture a glimpse of what is put into a ministry. They may not see the initial planning, the preparation, and everything that goes into getting everything in place. But they also don’t see the back-end story—they don’t see the lives of those who are ministering.
No matter what we are going through, we are still able to plant. Our faithful and obedient leaders of the Early Church certainly didn’t have it easy but they pressed onward. They understood that “those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” They trusted that the harvest would come. They trusted that God would use every seed for His kingdom.
You may be struggling today and wondering how you can make a difference. You may feel unworthy or not equipped to plant. Remember that God qualifies you (2 Corinthians 3:5). Remember also that God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Continue to plant the seed my friends. Some may reject it. Your testimony needs to be heard. It may not always be easy. But the harvest will come. Indeed!
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” – Psalm 126:5-6 [NLT]
Most people can remember a time they put something considered valuable in a pocket that happened to have a hole in it that allowed the item to escape. I have seen so much money fall to the ground as a result of pockets filled with holes.
Through Haggai, the Lord was delivering a message. At this time the people had homes but the Lord’s house remained a ruin. Today’s verse spoke of how the people “planted much but harvest little.” It speaks about eating and drinking but those actions not resulting in fulfillment. He compares the wages for their laboring as money tossed in “pockets filled with holes.” All of these things mentioned give us a picture of someone who is doing, but doing without God getting first place.
We can plant. We can eat. We can drink. We can have closets full of clothing. We can have a large bank account. But without God, these things aren’t satisfying. There is a void. It is as if putting something of value into pockets with holes. It will all slip out. All is lost. Only through Christ are we able to find true joy and satisfaction. Only through Christ can we truly live. Where are you placing your relationship with God today?
“You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!” – Haggai 1:6 [NLT]
Have you ever given an excuse that you were waiting for the right moment to do something? Solomon wrote that “farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.” And because “they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” If you do not get started with something, how will you ever get to the finish line?
When it comes to what God is calling you to do, if He says it is time to get started, we cannot sit and wait for the “perfect weather.” We all are weak and are only able to accomplish what we were created to do through God’s strength. Yes we must wait for God, but when He’s telling us to move forward, it is time. We should not be sitting around waiting for something else to happen for us to move. We shouldn’t say we are not ready because God says we are ready—through Christ we are ready.
Today do not sit around watching every cloud. There is work to be done. We need to plant so we can later harvest. If we wait around for the perfect time, we will find that there is no perfect time than the time God has chosen. He has a beautiful plan—trust it!
“Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” – Ecclesiastes 11:4 [NLT]
The best part of everything that was discussed in this Proverb is making reference to the first of the harvest. Yet we could actually look at all areas of our lives and consider this “best part of everything.” It can really put things in perspective for a person when reflecting upon things with this phrase. There is no better than the best. The best part of everything—that means every single thing.
So do you give God the best of your time? Do you give God the best of your talents? Do you give God the best of your work? Do you give God the best of your relationships? Do you give God the best of your finances? Every single thing. The best part.
Today evaluate how well you honor the Lord. Where are you giving your best? Where can there be improvements? How can you do more to honor the Lord?
“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” – Proverbs 3:9 [NLT]
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.”
– Psalm 62:5 [NIV]
The beginning of a year always brings resolutions and as we near the end of the month, most of the resolutions no longer are fresh in our minds because they ended weeks ago. One resolution many Christians make is to devote more time to reading the Bible and more time for prayer. Some people may have decided to follow through with a daily devotional. It is very important to have some quiet time with God each day, time where you are able to wait on Him, read His Word, speak with Him, and hear what He has to say to you.
If you have made a resolution similar to this, but have fallen short of the goal already, do not be hard on yourself. Start where you left off and keep pressing forward. God is waiting. If you haven’t made a resolution, but you are considering spending more time with God now, consider finding a Daily Devotional that will help you with your daily reading. There are so many different options available, some which are delivered via email, are presented in a RSS feed, or can even be found on a smart phone app.
I can honestly say that Daily Devotional time has always been a struggle for me. I have to do it first thing in the morning or it doesn’t happen. Something I have just started recently however is to have afternoon and evening devotional time as well, because I find it is beneficial for my walk with Christ.
Here’s a list of twelve of the Daily Devotionals available online that I use daily and/or occasionally. Why twelve? I love that number. I recommend them all; however, if it is something you are considering, please look at each of them to see which one helps you the most. The purpose of a Daily Devotional is to have some time with God. It’s all about God and you – on the relationship that matters most!
Devotionals I Use /I’ve Used / I Recommend:
- My Utmost For His Highest (Oswald Chambers) – simply LOVE this devotional
- In Touch Ministries (Dr. Charles Stanley) – constantly gleaning from this devotional
- Joni & Friends (Joni Eareckson Tada) – always insightful & must read daily
- PD Daily Hope (Rick Warren) – simple, insightful, great devotional
- BGEA: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – nicely formatted, insightful
- Joyce Meyer – good daily devotional
- Our Daily Bread – nice devotional, possibly found in your church
- Daily Grace Inspirations (Joseph Prince) – nice devotional focused on God’s grace
- The Upper Room – nice devotional
- Spurgeon’s Daily Meditations (Charles Spurgeon) – insightful, available AM & PM
- Harvest (Greg Laurie) – good devotional
- Heartlight SpiritFire (Phil Ware) – good devotional
“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”
– Psalm 42:1 [GW]
As I walked by the church car park, I noticed that a lady pulled her car into the lot, and then she turned around and drove out of the car park, only to park down the street. She used the lot simply to turn around so that she could get on the side of the street she wished to park. I thought then about the options that we have with the church parking area. We all drive into the church car park with the intentions of turning around. Some of us wish to turn our lives around, and we enter the car park with the desire to get to know God and have a relationship with Christ. Then there are other people who go into the parking area simply because they are using it as a way to turn their vehicles around so that they can go in another direction.
But then, there are the other people– the people who are considering what the church has to offer– but then change their mind and leave quickly, trying not to be noticed. I wonder how many people do that at our churches. Do we have a welcoming church? Have we placed out a welcome mat, or are we keeping the doors closed up? This is not really a question about the grounds maintenance and the presence of a welcome mat, but rather, a deep question that we need to all consider as we enter the walls of our church. If we are to share the gospel and bring people to know Christ, we must certainly be inviting. How is your church inviting? How are you inviting? This isn’t a question meant to judge and rate your church’s outreach program. This is a question to get you to consider more ways to share Christ. There’s so many people out there who haven’t heard about Jesus yet. Lets not lose hope.
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.”
– John 4:35-36 [ESV]