Searching for Ships Lost in the Harbor
by Pastor Gene
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He asked His disciples to pray that the “Lord of the Harvest” would send workers into the field. He’s the woman in the parable who sweeps the house clean to find that one lost coin. There are multitudes who are lost today. They are without hope, without Christ and without eternal life. Lost indeed. Lost in the wide, stormy sea of the world.
But there are others who are lost too – and they’re all around us. The saved lost, if you’re picking up what I’m laying down. They’re born again, blood-bought children of God, but they haven’t found their spiritual groove. They’re not serving Jesus in any meaningful way. They may attend church regularly, but they’re still outsiders. They’re not in any of the church’s cliques. There the ones who you might catch from the corner of your eye gathering their things and quietly slipping out of the church alone as you chat with your friends.
They may feel excluded, like they don’t really fit in or belong. They’re not using their gifts and they haven’t really been asked to. They are another kind of lost – those who are lost in the harbor.
We need to use our gifts to encourage them. We need to use the compassion and sensitivity that the Lord has sown within our hearts to be to them what Paul was to Timothy when he warned him not to “neglect the gift you have” and to “fan into flame the gift of God” (1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6).
We’d all agree that there are no throw-aways in the Body of Christ, but, mark it down, there are those who feel … well, disposable. They’re the “little toe” on the Body that they’re convinced the Body can live without. We must never be OK with this! We must not let this stand! Jesus asked us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send workers into the field, but lately I’ve been praying the Lord would send workers into His Church too!
Paul tells us to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). One way we might do this is by implementing the five-minute rule. I can’t remember where I heard this, but it’s wonderful. Here it is: for the first five minutes after the worship service, you don’t allow yourself to fellowship with your regular crowd – your regular pals. Instead, you have to seek out someone that you don’t ordinarily speak with, or may not know at all, and say ‘Hi.’
Sounds simple, right? But few will do it. The amazing thing is this, though: if even 20 percent of our church would do this, no one would fall through the cracks.
There are no little people in the Body of Christ, no throw-aways. Would you join me in making that more than just a slogan?
For consideration …
- How did you feel the first time you visited our church? Do you remember who greeted you? You probably do. Why do you think you still remember that?
- Why do you think Paul had to repeatedly encourage Timothy to use the gift that God had given him?
- How might you be more sensitive to the ships that seem lost in the harbor? What can you do to reach for them and let them know they matter?
- Consider Romans 15:7: “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” What does this mean to you? How specifically might you honor this instruction?
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Excellent – I believe it is extremely vital because someone who is searching and seeking whether saved or not is looking for someone to welcome them- to let them know they are accepted and that we as a body care. I also believe that we must not make someone feel like they don’t belong by separating into these “circles” or groups I know we want to fellowship and talk to friends we have not seen all week but as you stated why not first seek out and welcome those who are searching for a welcome and a warm smile. ❤️
I’m glad you brought that up pastor on Sunday from the pulpit, because I did that right after service. I spoke to a woman and I was relieved to hear that she felt welcomed in this church. I wasn’t sure because she seems to sit by herself with her grandchild. But she said that she loves this church. And I was very glad that I had made the step forward! I will try to do this on a regular basis-your suggestion of the five-minute rule.
Excellent because there was a woman there last week. Her name was Jen I thought she was a teacher I new from school but she wasn’t . So I had a little conversation with her it was nice.
Thank you Kerin for this sharing, I also have this type of listening habit and pray that God would be honored in all I do and say no matter who I am with. At this age I do find it difficult to connect with people, I pray for His wisdom and discernment for all of us so that we may be understood in a manner that is acceptable and worthy of Him and the one God puts in our path.
Sharing from Max Lucado’s Study Bible, I hope our words and thoughts please Our Lord, He is our Rock, the one who save us. This is my prayer for all of us.
I do remember our first visit to Harvest Community church on Arnold St. Ted and I were searching for the church God would have us attend. We were welcomed by our Pastor Gene, his wife Mary as well as many others. We are blessed to have so many who have the gift of welcoming those who feel like throwaway’s. We love you all so and thank God for all of your gifts that continue to be used by God to encourage us all to be all God would have us be. To God be the Glory. AMEN
There is a song that I recall from years ago, and it goes as follows:
1. In the church of Jesus there is love for you, Love most pure and tender, love most deep and true; Why should you be lonely, why for friendship sigh, When the church of Jesus has a full supply!
2. In the church of Jesus there is life for you, Warm as summer sunshine, sweet as morning dew; Why should you be fearful, why take anxious thought, Since the church of Jesus cares for those He bought!
3. In the church of Jesus there is work for you; Such as even angels might rejoice to do; Why stand idly sighing for some life work grand, While the church of Jesus seeks your reaping hand!
4. In the church of Jesus there’s a place for you; Glorious, bright, and joyous, right and peaceful too; Why then like a wand’rer, roam with weary pace, If the church of Jesus holds for you a place.
As some may know I love the outdoors, for it is there that I witness first hand God’s creation. It’s beauty its majestic majesty speak to me, but than I consider God’s church. I Think about how God is going to present to his son, our victorious King the church (that’s you and me) as his bride, without any spot or wrinkle. I don’t know how to say this but she (the church his bride) is going be of a wondrous beauty that just defies imagination. And we call out ones, the quiet wall-flower non-engaging ones are equally a part of it. I think of that incident when Jesus was in the house, and they said your brothers and sister are asking for you, and Jesus responded with who is my brother? who is my sister? and said he that does the will of my father. I just love this word of inclusiveness in Sundays message. Are we not individually as well as corporately his masterpiece!
If the creation i.e. the landscape mountains any indication, there is a beauty about to be reveal. The church his bride, and we are part of it!
Hey…if you are reading this blog and you haven’t left a comment, let your voice be heard! One of the ways we can get to know you is here! I’m listening!!!
I don’t remember who I spoke to but I was captivated by the intense sense of community and interaction by the body during those first Sunday morning visits. I wanted to be part of it. When I saw people hanging around, sharing life together in the sanctuary after church, my heart said “vibrant, real, and loving.” I experienced people reaching out to me that caused me in turn to do likewise. I think it can be a contagious GOOD when we see that kind of “paying attention to each other” going on. That’s what Jesus did. “Let your attitude be the same as Christ Jesus…” (Phil 2:5) … I need the reminder often, and those around me are the living examples and reminders of that.
Came across this unexpectedly and wrote it down for future use. It reminds me not only about our church family but the broader scope as well: “Put on your Jesus’ glasses as you interact with others. Ask your Savior to help you see the clerk at the mall, your supervisor, the bus driver, your kids coach thru the eyes of compassion and love.” I need to SEE with the eyes of Jesus, continually, everywhere and with love.
I was a serial interrupter…I spent several Saturday mornings at “Big Book Step Study” 12 step meetings. At these particular meetings, you can’t speak unless you have been through the 12 steps with a sponsor. I never had, so every Saturday as we went around introducing ourselves, I would say, “Hi, my name is Michele, and I’m listening.” Most of the women in the group took their turn to speak–they had “been through the process.” We used a timer so that everyone had a turn. And after several months of Saturday mornings, I found myself different–I was actually becoming a better listener. (God had to force me into silence so I would listen, but hey, He finds what works, right?) I thought I was hopeless, God found a way! I became a better listener by practicing. And I think it has helped my relationships–Kathy, I can’t think of a more compassionate, invested listener than you! You are such a blessing to my life!!