Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Lesson from the Feedlot

The other morning, I found myself outside helping my husband with chores on our farm. It was a dreary morning, the yard was muddy and the cattle lot was a mess. As the rain fell down, thoughts came to this blog and comments about my lessons learned on the farm. It has been awhile since I've really gleaned a lesson from the great outdoors...not because God hasn't been teaching, but I haven't been looking for it. So as I stood there watching the gate, I prayed a prayer and asked God to use this time as a teachable moment. And friend, He did.

First of all, as the rain fell and the conditions were less than ideal, I was reminded that farmers never get to pick when they work and as Christians you and I shouldn't either. We need to do our best to live out Colossians 3:23 - "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, not for man." This is a lesson He's taught before, but obviously I needed the reminder.

As I watched the cattle in the other lot, God gave me quite a picture. Like I said it was raining and had stormed through the night, so the feed bunks were full of water. Before my husband filled them with feed, he used a shovel and removed all the water. I kept one eye on the cattle and the other on him and had the thought, "What if I did this with my heart?"

It has been said that God's Word is food for our soul and friend if we want to get as much nourishment as possible from our Bible, we must follow my husband's lead. Job knows the cattle will waste the majority of feed if it is mixed in with the mess the rain creates. Oh friend, isn't that true of our hearts? If our hearts are full of sin, anger, bitterness or any other bad thing there's less room for the Word to go. Sure we may ingest some, but we'll waste more.

Over the last few days I've been challenged to take some time for confession before I feast on the Word and it's been powerful. I encourage you to give it a try!

As I stood in the feedlot, watching water and leftover feed get thrown from the bunks, reality hit - I know there have been countless times I've read the Word prior to cleaning my heart. I thought about this for a bit and wondered if the picture I described above was all wrong. It was then 2 Timothy 3:16 came to mind, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

I reflected on this verse and I looked at the scene in front of me a bit differently - sometimes God's Word acts like the rain. It washes things and opens our eyes to the mess that is there. Scripture will accomplish the task God sends it for. (Isaiah 55:11) Sometimes God's Word will wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin (Psalm 51:2) and at others the Holy Spirit will intercede and teach me things and bring to remembrance all Jesus has said. (John 14:26)

Friend, I don't know if there is a mess you need to clean up before God can fill you up, but I encourage you to examine your heart and if there is something that needs to be removed be like the farmer and do the work you need to do. If there is a Word you need from God to grow in your relationship with Him, go to His Word and seek His direction, He will provide what you need.

Regardless if the sin in your life and mess in your heart is obvious or if it takes awhile to reveal it, I pray you find comfort in these words from Psalms 32 verses 1-5:

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess my transgression to the LORD."
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Friend, I am also asking God to use these words to motivate us because though we want to find comfort in the promise that God will forgive, we must NEVER become comfortable with our sin. And whether we want to admit it or not, we are all sinners who fall short. When we see the sin, let's call it what it is, confess it and turn from it...God will always do His part, but first we must do ours!!

A few days have passed and my husband has yet to clean the bunks again, but through that I'm reminded that when he's aware of the mess, he cleans it up. And when he's not, he does what he needs to do. Friend, I pray you and I will do the same as we deal with the mess in our lives and feed our soul with God's living and active Word! Blessings to you from the farm!

1 comment:

  1. Love your heart. Great article. I DID confess my sinfulness before the Lord the next morning after I read this (In my God time). Thanks Jill for your faithfulness. I want to welcome conviction and allow God to clean up my mess.