Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)
TITLE: Plowman and the Thresher
By Virginia Gorg
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“What is your fitness level?”
My boyfriend laughed at the sign at a local church. “I’m fit. I work out every day and I don’t have an ounce of fat. Besides, what does fitness have to do with a church?”
In spite of his comments, that sign kept nagging at me. Finally, on Saturday, I announced, “I’m going to that church tomorrow. Want to come?”
Stan looked at me aghast. “Sunday is my big work out day at the fitness center. Nothing takes me from that. You could use a little exercise, too, you know.”
My decision wasn’t swayed as I rose early on Sunday. “Are you serious about this church thing?” Stan mumbled sleepily, “I’m going to the gym.”
I hesitantly approached the door of Lakeshore Community Church. “Welcome,” said a teenager. “Is this your first time here?”
“Yes, your sign made me curious,” I replied.
“Cool. Pastor Braun’s sermon is about fitness. I hope you enjoy it.”
“I’m Carli,” said a petite blonde woman. “Welcome to our church.”
Carli made me feel welcome and seemed interested in me, yet I was a bit uneasy. I wasn’t as good as any of these people. I was a rebel in my family who was kicked out at age eighteen. For the past six years, I’ve been living with Stan. I began to panic and wanted to leave, but Carli touched my arm. “Why don’t you come and sit with me so I can answer any questions you might have.”
I was trapped, so I followed her to a pew where she introduced me to several people. I wanted to disappear. A few announcements were made and the music began. The song was sort of familiar to me, yet I was surprised when they sang, “that saved a wretch like me.” The next song spoke of uncleanness and asked for a pure heart and clean hands.
Pastor Braun said, “From First Corinthians, we are told, ‘Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more?’ Today we will talk about spiritual fitness, the plowman, and the thresher.” As he spoke, I felt like I was being described in front of everyone. Here I was, twenty-six years old and living with a man. My life was truly going nowhere. I was hopeless, helpless, and totally unworthy of being in a church with all of these good people.
Pastor Braun’s next words shocked me. “I know most of you and each of you was a wretched, pitiful person. You were below zero on the spiritual fitness scale. Some of you came from a life of drugs, others from prostitution, and others from alcohol. You were plowed and threshed and look at what the Lord has done in His grace and mercy. Are we now perfect? No. But we are forgiven because we know we offended God Almighty and asked His forgiveness. As soon as we recognize we are sinners in need of a Savior, what happens? Jesus runs to us as we pour ourselves out to Him, asking for mercy and forgiveness. Folks, Jesus will not withhold when you truly repent and turn from your ways.”
As he spoke, I felt a rush of shame come upon me. Tears trickled down my cheeks. I had forgotten how to cry until now.
Pastor Braun continued, “If you feel a tug upon your heart, it is the Lord. Proclaim to Him your sorrow at offending Him. Invite Him to come into your heart and life – you will be amazed.”
Carli leaned over and spoke so that only I could hear, “Jessie, turn to Jesus now. Just speak to Him in your heart.”
I knew that God had spoken to me and it was time to radically change my life for Him. First thing on the list was to pack my meager belongings and move out of Stan’s house. I may have trouble finding a place to live on earth, but my true home is in Heaven.
Reference: 1 Corinthians 9:10-12
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