Monday, June 11, 2007

Are you worshipping in a warehouse or a factory?

If I owned a grape orchard, maybe I’d live in Italy or along the Columbia River. Either way, I’d want things to run smoothly. Who wouldn’t want to have highly qualified workers in your own personal vineyard? But it would be very frustrating to find that the workers were eating the produce rather than nourishing, increasing, and gathering the harvest. I think sometimes, God sees his “orchard” under-producing because the workers, while skillful, have grown content in a sedentary existence.

One of the missionaries that our church supports shared this analogy yesterday in reference to the American church. For too long, significant portions of the American church have been content to enjoy partaking in the fruit of the vineyard rather than nourishing, increasing, and gathering it. Obviously, not everyone is content to live a “Sunday Christian life,” but unfortunately, churches have become warehouses rather than factories.


Jonathan Mitchell said...

This is my first post on a blog :-) so here it goes...

So, is the harvest the unbeliever? or is the harvest God's blessings?

We are certainly called to minister to the unbeliever... "harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." No question.

However, if the analogy is that the harvest is God's blessings upon us (I think that some biblical passages use vineyards to represent God's blessing), then I think we can "consume" them without the feeling of guilt or shame. We must give Him credit for His provisions and blessings (I forget to do this often), but we may enjoy the blessing with a clear conscience.

Historicus said...

You make a great point about the analogy. All analogies break down eventually, but this analogy was intended to point out the church's overall tendency to "live" within the comfortable walls of the church building instead of taking risks to evangelize.

The vinyard in the analogy might then have been better represented as the store-house which contains the already-gathered harvest. Once gathered, most Christians are content to be gathered rather than working to be fishers of men (How's that for mixing/matching analogies?) :-)

Anonymous said...

our church also has a difficult time getting outside the walls; that is why mom and i have always had a heart for CEF and other type ministeries; but we still have the dilemna of how much of God's blessings do we enjoy for our own comfort, or like the widow, give it 'all' back. it is a decision that we all must make before our Creator; daddio