Last week, I wrote about the value of planting seeds for the Lord of the Harvest. We receive “seeds” from God when He drops desires in our heart or gives us ideas of ways to help others. Each time He prompts our heart to do something, He is giving us another seed. However, once we receive a seed from God, it’s up to us to “plant” the seed by following through with what He has led us to do. This week, I’d like to continue to encourage you to be quick to plant the seeds God has given you.
Too often, we hesitate and do not respond to God quickly enough when He leads. Perhaps we are waiting for perfect conditions before we step out and obey God. However, if we keep waiting for conditions to be “just right” before we follow God, we’ll be waiting a long time! As Ecclesiastes 11:4 points out, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest” (NLT). Just like farmers could always find an excuse not to work, we can always find an excuse not to obey God. However, by doing so, we may miss out on the great harvest God intended for the seed!
My dad (who is also my pastor J) recently shared with our church a Scripture passage that illustrates the dangers of waiting too long to respond to God. I’ve given the account much thought, and I’d like to share the message with you as well. The fifth chapter of the book of Song of Solomon tells the story of a young maiden who is unexpectedly visited by her lover. He comes in the evening and knocks on her door, wanting to see her. However, she hesitates in coming to the door, answering “I have taken off my robe; how can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; how can I defile them?” (5:3). Although she wanted to see her lover, she apparently didn’t feel “ready” or “prepared” to see him at that time. Eventually, she made her way to the door, only to find that “my beloved had turned away and was gone” (v. 6). We can apply this scene to our own lives when Jesus knocks on the door of our heart. If we hesitate to respond to Him because the conditions aren’t “just right” or because we don’t feel “ready,” we may miss out on meeting Him as He intended!
As a musician, I find that God often moves on my heart to sing or play certain songs at church. However, if I’m honest with you, I must admit that I am sometimes too slow to be obedient. Unfortunately, while I’m waiting to polish and perfect the musical elements of the song, the people who need to hear the message of the song are left waiting as well. By the time I get around to presenting the song, it may be too late for the people who really need the message for a certain time. I should be more mindful that delivering a “perfect” musical performance is not as important as fulfilling the “purpose” of the song by communicating its message. Just like the maiden who wanted to be “perfect” for her lover, I may miss out on God’s best if I wait too long. I should respond more quickly.
Consider the opening verses of Proverbs 9:
Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her meat, she has mixed her wine, she has also furnished her table.
She has sent out her maidens … (v. 1-3a)
In this account in which wisdom is personified as a woman, I find it interesting that all of the activities are listed in past tense. We repeatedly read that she “has” done this and she “has” done that, not she “will” do this and she “will” do that. What I learn from these verses is that the way of wisdom is to get things done, not to procrastinate! Too often, we leave too many activities in future tense. We talk about all the things we “will” do for God when it would be better to be able to say I “have” done these things for God. It’s only after we’ve planted the seed that God can bring the harvest!
So, quit waiting for all conditions to be perfect before you plant the seeds God has given you; move quickly when He leads. Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to lay down any “weight” that would hinder our progress. If we’re not careful, we can let our desire to be perfect become a huge weight that slows us down in fulfilling God’s purpose. The passage in Hebrews continues by explaining that we best fulfill God’s plan by “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (v. 2, NLT). You see, just as Jesus “initiates” our faith by dropping a desire into our hearts, he also “perfects” our faith by bringing the desire to pass when we obey. So, simply serve God out of a pure heart, and let Him make your service perfect. Then, you will see His purpose fulfilled.