The Harvesters and the Lighthouse (Lane)
The Harvesters and the Lighthouse
by Lonnie Lane
In talking with a pastor about someone with an interesting story whom I had led to the Lord, he remarked that both my brother Michael and I certainly have the gift of evangelism as he’d known of others we had each led to the Lord. I responded that we didn’t see it that way. We just saw that we were acting in what should be normal Christianity for everyone. The reason we introduce people to the Lord is that we tell people about Him. It’s that simple. We talk about Him, we invite them to come to know Him too, and many do. It’s not complicated. Paul said, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom 10:14) The implication in that is if you “preach,” they’ll hear. Faith, as we know, does come by hearing.
This same principle that faith comes by hearing works for the devil too. What you give yourself to hearing, you’ll begin to believe. Mark 4:24 warns us to “Be careful of what you hear” because it will be added to you. In other words, what you hear has an effect on your life. I take it to mean be careful to hear good stuff, kingdom stuff, uplifting and edifying, faith building and encouraging stuff, inspiring stuff. But most non-believers, and for that matter some who profess to be Believers, get their input from the world all day, every day. Not such good stuff.
Once upon a time, the sounds around us were ….birds, leaves or grass rustling in the wind, the voices of people in our lives, someone practicing an instrument perhaps. Maybe a train whistle off in the distance, or the sounds of animals in a field, the bark of a dog (my dog, Lizzie, just barked as if right on cue.) But people didn’t hear absolute strangers telling them what to think all day, every day. Their ears weren’t constantly assaulted with on-going music (with lyrics that impose values or desires upon them), or ungodly media input of one kind or another, be it the never-ending opinions of commentators or an emotion-manipulating drama. No wonder the stress level of our society is so high, with accompanying illnesses. We are under a severe lack of quietness. And truth!
It was not always so in our society. But today, one could live in America and never get to hear a Scripture verse, or an earnest prayer, or the truth of Who Yeshua is, let alone on a daily basis. I talked to a 14 year old boy recently who lives with his unbelieving father and whose perspective on life is that he doesn’t believe there is a God. Do you think he would live his teenager years and older in a different way than if he believed there is a God who loves him, cares for him and to Whom he is accountable? You bet. How would he know, though, if no one told him?
I’m just like you. I totally understand reluctance in sharing with people. No one likes rejection, or to be thought of as some religious nut, or just rude for projecting our beliefs on someone else. Since we live in a time in which the idea of ultimate truth is rejected (a by-product of the Age of Reason), to say you believe you KNOW Ultimate Truth, and that Yeshua is the ONLY way to God, makes you in some people’s eyes, a religious fanatic with no credibility. But on the other hand, there are thousands who just wish someone would come along and tell them they’ve found truth. I remember before I became a Believer worrying that the world seemed like it was going crazy and no one seemed to be in charge. I used to ask myself, “Isn’t anyone in charge?” One of the first things I loved about the Lord is that He is in charge! Of everything! And He’s good and can be trusted! When I found out He was God I no longer had to try and be. I could let Him be God in my life and I didn’t have to be god of my own life anymore. How many others out there feel similarly?
I recently heard someone say, “A person with an argument is no match for a person with an experience.” If you know Yeshua, then you have come into some experience of God’s love for you. May I suggest it would please the Lord if you shared it with others. Let the love you know from Yeshua shine out in love toward others. One of Sid’s radio guests, Nancy Walsh, (August 13, 2007) told the story of how she began to pray for God to save people in her little town. Soon she noticed that she was beginning to see people as the Lord wanted them to be rather than how they were in their lack or sickness or depression, etc. She began to feel His love for them, and she began to talk to people, even people she didn’t know – in the supermarket, in the gas station or with the moms at her kids’ school while picking them up. Soon the Lord provided opportunities to tell people how she saw them or what she believed God wanted to do in their lives. She became a wonderful source of encouragement. She said, “I hug a lot of people.” She invites them over to her house, batches of them, with a few Believers sprinkled in and by the end of the luncheon or whatever she’s having, everyone’s saved. All because she has seen them through God’s eyes of love.
God will give you eyes to see people that way too if you ask Him – and keep asking till you see them as He does. I believe that’s a part of “Seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” We begin to see the potential God has for people, to see them as righteous rather than as sinners. What Good News we then have for them! Yeshua brought hope to sinners. Let’s be like Him! Okay?
I know from experience that when we share the Lord with someone we get an immediate download of the Lord’s joy. That’s right. His joy. It’s not just the angels that rejoice when someone comes to the Lord. Our spirits rejoice too as our spirits are connected with the Spirit realm and God shares His joy with us. Leading people to the Lord is a high nothing else can give you. To know someone is heaven-bound instead of hell-bent brings a great sense of satisfaction of having been a co-worker with the Lord in someone’s eternal destiny.
I’ve been attending a small church that is having an impact in my city – albeit quietly, and hidden away. At least thus far. The Pastor, his name is Phil, believes that leading people to the Lord is what Yeshua said to do. So being a “doer” and not just a “hearer” or a preacher telling others to “do,” he takes whosoever wishes in the congregation with him on Saturdays and they go and talk to people, at the bus stop, at the mall, wherever. Last Saturday eight people made confessions of faith. I believe the count in the last four months since I’ve met them is something like 280 people who have prayed to receive Yeshua as their savior. (Phil’s keeping a count.) Some are then connected to other churches. Some come to Phil’s church, including a group of recently saved teenagers. Three of them hanging on a corner were approached by Jodi, one of the church members, who led all three of them to the Lord. They went and told other kids and now a bunch of them come to church twice a week. That simple!
As Saturday is a Sabbath day of rest for me, I wasn’t inclined to join them on that day. However, I asked the Lord about it, and was immediately reminded of what He did on the Sabbath. Oh, right!
No matter the day, life presents opportunities all around us all the time to share the Lord. Last month the meter reader lady came to the door. It was quite hot so I invited her in for a glass of cold water. By the time she left the house, she had given her life to the Lord and had asked Him to help her to be “walking right,” whatever that meant to her.
Two weeks ago the carpet cleaner came. I asked him in the course of conversation if he knew for sure if he died tomorrow he would go to heaven. He had it all sown up, he said. He knew that he was a good person with good Karma so he knew he’d be okay when he dies. I told him I once believed in reincarnation till God showed me that the devil wants to invalidate the death of the one Person that matters through the idea of reincarnation. Besides, I mentioned, who exactly would be in charge (there it is again) of who comes back to be what? But he confidently said, “The devil doesn’t have anything on me. I know what I believe.” I pointed out that if Jesus really is the only way to heaven, having paid for his sins, then the devil already has him because he’s believing the lie that His death didn’t matter. He stopped writing out the bill he was working on and looked at me. “Well, maybe,” he said. I asked him if he would be willing to pray with me and just ask God for His truth. “After all,” I said, “there’s only one God and one truth. If you really want the truth, don’t you think God will answer your prayer?” He guessed God would, he said, not sounding entirely convinced. At least he was willing to give it a try and he agreed to pray with me.
I led him in a prayer, one line at a time which he repeated, though sometimes he hesitated, deciding if he wanted to actually say that or not. When I said, “Lord, I’m not sure about this sin issue… ” he interrupted me and said, “Oh, I know I’m a sinner. I know what my sins are.” Well, so much for his perfect karma! So I continued to lead him to ask God to forgive him for his sin and then he prayed after me, “Jesus, if you’re real, come and take over my life.” He hesitated again, but repeated it after me, and we ended with, “In Jesus’ name. Amen.” Then he breathed a deep sigh and after a silent moment said, “I feel so much better.” Well, how about that? While praying one prayer in seeming unbelief, once he got to talking to the Lord, he realized he was a sinner and when he asked for forgiveness, he felt the release that could only come from the Lord Himself. Praise the Lord. He left thanking me. He had opened the door of his heart to Yeshua and I got my carpets cleaned.
I’ve learned that sometimes when something looks like a catastrophe or trouble to wait and see what the Lord is doing. Something redemptive is bound to come out of it. A car accident a while back resulted in sharing the Lord with the couple in the other car who were living together. She was a Christian, he was not. She repented for their ungodly relationship, he prayed to accept the Lord and then got down on his knees on the sidewalk of the busy downtown street we were on and asked her to marry him, while we were waiting for the officer to write up the accident report in his car.
Yesterday my car battery died. I called Triple A to come charge my battery. When the man came I could see Jesus on his face. I asked him if he knew the Lord. “Yes, ma’am, for sure.” But as we talked it turned out he had not been to church for a long time for a particular personal reason. By the time we finished talking he was going to go back to church. “You realize,” I suggested, “that my battery had go dead for us to have this conversation. The Lord is calling you back to where He can hug you and help you.” He knew it. Another sheep rescued by Yeshua from wandering the hills where the wolves are.
On a trip to Maine with some dear friends we visited one of the 35 lighthouses that served in the past to bring ships through to safe places along the rocky and dangerous coastline. After our tour, in which the elderly gentleman named Ozzie had told us harrowing tales of how the lighthouse had prevented many from shipwreck, I said to him, “The church is a lighthouse for Jesus.” “For who?” the man said loudly, being hard of hearing. “Jesus. Do you know Jesus?” I shouted back. This began a somewhat loud conversation in which he told me that he was 92 years old and faithfully went into town to a Presbyterian church “once’ta-month” his whole life. People who are 92 have generally given some thought to eternity so I proceeded to ask him, if he knew for sure if he’d go to heaven when he died. “Well, ‘hope so, but y’can’t know f’sure,” he responded looking for a wistful moment through the narrow window and out over the ocean horizon.
I began to tell him that he could know for sure and about having a personal relationship with Jesus once he acknowledged that He died to pay the price for his sins. “Do you know you’re a sinner? I asked. Looking down he said more softly than anything else he’d said, “Well….yeah.” Then a frown crossed his face. “I knew some Jewish people n’ they never did believe He was th’ messiah, so, well, I just don’t know.” In his mind, if the Jewish people didn’t believe in Jesus, he wasn’t sure Jesus really was who some folks think He was. But being Jewish myself, I knew!! Taking my star of David out from my collar I showed it to him and announced that he’d just met a Jewish person who believed that Jesus IS the Messiah so he didn’t have to worry about that anymore.” His face brightened immediately. “Well, whadda ‘ya know!” Having that settled, Ozzie was then ready to pray with me and accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior. After we prayed together he again looked wistful. “How long d’ya think He’ll leave me here?” he asked. “That’s between you and Him, Ozzie,” I answered. “But I think He kept you here long enough to meet a Jewish believer and answer your questions so you could go to heaven and be with Him.” That seemed to satisfy him. We shook hands warmly and agreed we’d hook up again one day in heaven.
So as you can see, opportunities abound. A friend and I pray a few days a week over the phone for just a few minutes asking the “Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt 9:38) Would you find a friend to pray with every day or a few days a week and ask God to send out laborers into the harvest too? In less than two minutes or five or however long you wish, you can agree for the salvation of your city, for America and for Israel, and your loved ones. It needn’t take long. Yeshua has promised us, “if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”(Matt 18:19) Couple that with, “You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2) So let’s ask. Ask together with someone. Let’s keep on asking and keep on knocking until the “gates of righteousness” are flung wide open. (Please see Ps. 118:19) And while you’re at it, ask God to give you eyes to see people the way He sees them, and to pour His love into you so He can pour it out through you. Then watch and see what happens.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.