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Where are the Harvesters?

If you have ever visited several churches over the course of a month, methods, styles and terminology vary.  Some denominations expect priests, pastors or preachers to do the core of the discipleship, evangelism and ministry work.  Yet, Jesus tell his disciples a completely different approach.  God’s plan involves harvesters.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” Matthew 9:37.

In this age of megachurches, spiritual growth is misleading.  Visitors often treat facilities like the latest trend, hopping from the old to the new as long as it satisfies your soul.  When the crowd begins to move in a different direction, loyalty is pushed aside.  This mentality causes individuals to become consumers, not servants.  Thus, harvesters are vanishing as a new generation of Christians take center stage in the church.

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field, Matthew 9:38.

One of the logical reasons for this void is known as the 90:10 rule.  Ten percent of congregations does ninety percent of the work at church.  This overuse can wear out willing volunteers.  If these harvesters aren’t given a break, burn out can occur.  In view of this, discipleship, nurturing and training is essential to unite the body of Christ.  When spiritual workers become a rarity in your house of worship, may a spirit of prayer prompt the Holy Spirit to bring harvesters out of retirement and back into action.

by Jay Mankus

That a Boy!

As the culture changes, so does the vocabulary.  Unfortunately, as a sense of loyalty diminishes, human beings are being discarded by employers, often finding a cheaper replacement.  I found out the hard way during my last year as a high school teacher.  In this climate, instead of hearing encouraging words like “that a boy,” criticism follows revealing a lack of appreciation.

With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it, 1 Peter 5:12.

Trying to stay positive in these conditions can be difficult.  However, after reading a letter from the disciple Peter, I am reminded of the importance to use uplifting words.  Since most communications at a typical work place tends to be when you make a mistake, what would happen if people received a compliment once a week.  While each individual is different, most need to hear “that a boy or way to go” every so often to make sure they feel appreciated.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen, Ephesians 4:29.

Although I have my moments of negativity, these passages of the Bible bring me back to where I need to be.  Thus, despite how I feel, its vital to guard my mouth to avoid being part of the problem.  In view of this, don’t be afraid to be a voice of reason, building up those around you.  By exercising this principle, you will rejuvenate others who yearn to hear, “that a boy!”

by Jay Mankus

 

He’s Not One of Us

In this age of multiculturalism, you might assume communities, groups and schools would be welcoming to outsiders.  However, cliques tend to form quickly like a defense mechanism, afraid of trusting a stranger until they prove their loyalty.  Thus, classmates, co-workers and transients tend to judge a person like a book, by the outside cover.

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us,” Mark 9:38.

The disciples were no different.  Perhaps jealousy played a role in their actions, fearful another individual’s gifts might impress Jesus more than their own talents.  Insecure, at least a few of the disciples thought someone was trying to move in on their turf.  Correcting their flawed mindset, Jesus encourages his followers to get behind others who fight and stand for the same cause.

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us, Mark 9:39-40.”

As a son of an immigrant, I remember the stories my father shared about coming to this country, learning English and embracing America as a melting pot.  Unfortunately, I run into people daily who come to this country without ever integrating, keeping to themselves and speaking their native language daily.  Without any sense of unity, this trend will continue to form a great divide as foreign cultures profess, “they’re not one of us!”  Don’t give into this mindset.  Rather, support those who make a stand for a worthy cause, especially soldiers of the cross.

by Jay Mankus

Blinded by Loyalty

Superman had kryptonite, Samson Delilah and for many coaches, loyalty blinds them from helping their team reach their full potential.  From the sidelines, I’ve seen professionals fail to win a title by filling in their rosters with their guys, not the most talented ones.  Meanwhile, travel ball squads often finalize the team with coaches kids, forgoing success to make everyone’s parents feel better.

Like a student experiencing their first bout of puppy dog love, you can’t get through to these individuals until its too late.  Developing an affection, attachment or devotion is natural, yet seeing the big picture isn’t always possible.  The blinding forces of love make it hard to think straight, especially when an outsider points out certain flaws.  Out of loyalty, feelings prevent most from making the best decisions for the greater good of a team.

In life, sometimes you have to take chances even if it means ruffling feathers.  While you may not change the minds of those in charge, if you remain silent you are committing a sin of omission.  If things go bad, you might even lose friendships.  Nonetheless, if you want those you care about to reach their full potential, don’t be afraid to expose anyone blinded by loyalty.

by Jay Mankus

 

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