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Topic: Rain (09/07/04)
TITLE: The Latter Rain
By David Ritchie
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Ben loved this new area that had become available for our early morning walks. Only the roads were laid and a few foundations poured for the first houses to be built. With all the earth hills it was a perfect place for a golden retriever to roam, exploring and following every scent. Rabbits also ran here but Ben was well trained and was easily called off when his natural instincts took over.
One day my eye caught sight of this clump of corn growing through the rough grass between the new laid roads. I realized it was corn as I examined it closer and ran the ears through my hand. I'll have to keep my eye on that I thought this will keep my canaries well fed over winter.
A few weeks later Ben was making the most of the extra time on our walk as I filled a couple of plastic shopping bags with my valued find. "What on earth's that," my wife said as she caught me with my hands full as I paused to admire my canaries and foreign birds in my aviary. "Just a few seeds off the new site, this will keep my birds going all winter," I replied. One crisp winter morning I brought out the first bag to prepare. I set up a little flat concrete slab, and then with a flat stone I began to 'pound' the corn ears to remove the husks.
It only took a couple of 'pounds' on my newly built threshing floor to realize that all my efforts had been in vain. My lack of agricultural knowledge had allowed me to harvest the corn too early. In Mark 4 v 28 Jesus said, "All by itself the soil produces grain, first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." To all intents and purposes the stalks of corn looked right for the plucking, but they needed the rain to swell the seed in the very heart of the corn seeds.
There is a lesson here for us. In his teachings Jesus spoke of a judgment day, he mentioned a 'Great White Throne' set up in the heavens, where the book of life is opened. He also spoke about, "The Judgment Seat of Christ," where all believers will be called to give account of their deeds since becoming a believer. Every sin before that time will be forgiven and forgotten through the power of the shed blood of Jesus, but our lives from that point on will be accounted for at this judgment. When it comes to be our turn will we be like my empty corn, looking the part on the outside but empty inside.
This will be the place where not only our actions but also our motives will be held up to the light. With my human understanding I cannot begin to imagine how this will all fall into play, but I know that the Judge of all the earth will do right. I believe that this judgment that precedes the marriage supper of the Lamb and the new heaven and earth where there will be no tears or suffering, will indeed be where "We'll understand it better bye and bye."
Scripture after scripture comes to mind as to those who will look the part, but God looks not at the outward but on the heart. My corn needed the latter rain to swell the heart of the corn, likewise we need the Holy Spirit sometimes referred to as rain, to refresh, motivate, revive, inspire our hearts and minds, and give us the power to live relevant holy meaningful lives in an increasingly darkening world.
Jesus said in John 12 v 24 "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." Let us expose our lives to the rain of the Holy Spirit and be fruitful producing a rich harvest so that on the Day of Judgment we will receive that coveted, "Well done good and faithful servant."