It is 9:38 AM. Let me tell you what I am thinking about this morning.
When God called Israel out of captivity in Egypt, their destination was the land promised by YHVH to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is their God. They are His people.
All the other peoples of the world worshipped gods of their own making, gods emblematic of the things made by the One True God. Professions of love for those gods demanded obedience from those worshipping it. That concept was understood by all the peoples of the ancient world, including the Egyptians.
Jehovah demanded obedience from those He chose as His “own possession among all the peoples.” At Mout Sinai, the first of the commandments given by God, in what is known as the Mosaic Covenant (Sinai Covenant), is for His people to have “no other gods” before Him.
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Love With Hands & Feet
God is jealous of the affections of His people. He will not share the love of those who belong to Him with anyone or anything. Moreover, love for Him must be tangible.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 19:18b
Old Testament, New Testament. It makes no difference. Loving God demands that we love those around us in the places where we live, work, and play. We must tangibly love the least, last, and lost right next door. There is no escaping this command.
“If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” – John 14:15
Jesus amplified the love command for those who follow Him. Plainly stated, if you do not love your neighbor in tangible ways, you do not love the Lord. It is that simple. Inviting your neighbors to attend church so that someone else can love them for you is not what God has in mind.
Two weeks ago, Noemi and I were at a campsite outside Chisinau, Moldova. Mid-morning alarms went off everywhere. Everyone stopped what they were doing and joined hands. We were asked to pray. Noemi and I quizzically looked at each other. “Pray for what?” Someone clarified. “Please pray Matthew 9:38.”
“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Jesus was speaking to His closest friends, those He was training as His disciples. Where did their training take place? It wasn’t in the synagogue. It wasn’t at the Temple in Jerusalem. Pssst! It wasn’t in church. Jesus’ training took place among the least, the last, and the lost. It was in the neighborhood.
Let me ask you to do something tangible, something that demonstrates your love for the Lord. Set the alarm on your smartphone to go off every day at 9:38 AM. Whatever you are doing, stop. Ask “the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Next, go look in the mirror. Realize that the worker He wants to send into His harvest is you!