(adapted from anonymous)
John stood looking out over his rice fields which should be a bright green, but which were now dusty and bare. There had been no rain for weeks but it had seemed months, the grass had all whithered up and there was not a green thing in sight, if the rain didn’t come soon; he would have no rice to feed his family and no money to buy vegetables to eat. John fell to his knees and prayed “Oh Father you know we must have rain if we are to eat this year. I pray that you would send the rain to provide water for our rice to grow.” He rose to his feet and slowly walked back to the house, sure that God would hear him and send the rain they so desperately needed.
Days passed and nothing happened no rain not even a drop, had God really heard him? Had God forgotten? More prayers ascended and John kept waiting and waiting. . . Meanwhile John noticed something strange, while looking out his window one day he saw his neighbor Mark, out working in his fields under the hot blistering sun. Day after day John saw Mark go to the field and sweat it out; “crazy man” he would say to himself, and several times John called out to him saying “Your crazy Mark can’t you see there is no rain? All of your efforts are worthless, your rice will not grow without water!” but Mark just ignored his calls and kept working in his fields. John began to be upset with God, didn’t His Word tell us that if we asked we would receive? Where was God? And where was the rain?
Then; one day when John looked out from his window, he saw dark clouds on the horizon, after watching for a while to make sure his eyes were not deceiving him, he ran to the shed and began looking for his shovel, his hoe, and other tools he would need. While John was in the shed digging for his tools, it began to rain and oh! Mark had never seen anything so wonderful in his life. Mark immediately went out and began planting his rice, knowing that God had answered his prayers, while John on the other hand now discovered that he had neglected to put diesel in the tractor and he had failed to go out and plow his field, oh what a miserable day that was for him spent in the shed looking for tools and running to town to get the needed fuel for the tractor.
How many of us like John are praying for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit, while by our actions we are telling those around us that we don’t really believe? Both John and Mark prayed, both of them made a profession of faith in God’s promise to provide for their needs, but only Mark actually went out and prepared his field to receive the promised rain. John didn’t believe enough to actually go out and put his faith to work, he didn’t really believe; he just thought he believed.
As I look around the mission field today, I see a few scattered missionaries here and there, but nothing like we should be seeing if we really expect Christ to return in even a few years. It’s easy to become discouraged when I think about this, but we know that God is able if necessary to spread the message using stones! (Luke 19:40) Oh how sad if He should have to spread the message this way because we neglect our duty! Oh how sad if we should miss out on the blessing God has in store for us!
Now I know that not everyone is called to go overseas, but ALL are called to work in God’s vineyard somewhere somehow. If you cannot go yourself, you can support those who can go, with your prayers and letters of encouragement, you can help to train young people to work for God, and you can talk to others of the work that needs to be done, there are many ways each one of us can help in God’s vineyard. Let us each labor faithfully so that in the end we will hear the words spoken: “Well done good and faithful servant. . . enter in to the joy of thy Lord”