The Call of the Harvest. Proverbs 3:9-10/ Malachi 3:8-10—DBC. Dr. Denny. November 18,2018
They were called Stampeders. These were mostly men, a few women, who left their comfortable homes in the states and rushed to the Klondike to prospect for gold in 1897. The stampeders numbered about 100,000 dreamers who just knew they would strike it rich in the Klondike. Few ever achieved that goal. To get to the Klondike they had to drag a ton of supplies up and over the steep Chilkoot Pass that led to the Klondike. I have an old photo that shows a string of men in single file struggling to climb this treacherous and narrow path up the mountain.
It was in the midst of this gold frenzy that a young man from San Francisco named Jack London decided to join this mob. He was 21 and his life up to this point had been a struggle. He hoboed around the country doing any odd job he could find. He tried to go to college, but he just didn’t have enough money to make it there.
London said once, “it was in the Klondike I found myself.” He got sick in the mountains though and had to go home. But when he got back to California he wrote one of the world’s most famous novels, “The Call of the Wild.” This story drew from his experiences in the Yukon Gold Rush. He wrote about a powerful dog named Buck who had been stolen from a wealthy family in California and sold to prospectors in the gold rush. Buck eventually turned wild, the call of the wild too powerful to hold him back.
The Call of the Harvest
It was this title of the novel that intrigued me as I considered our gathering today. Harvest Home is one of the high points of our church life here at the DBC. And harvest Home has its own call as well and it is in Malachi that I hear these sacred calls the clearest.
Background to Malachi:
Malachi was written after the exiles returned from captivity in Babylon (538 BC). Nehemiah had just rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem and life returned to normal finally. But as time passed the exiles did the unexplainable—they once again strayed from God, neglecting Him in worship and life. (Why do we always do this? Why do we forsake the only One who ever loved us enough to give His life for us)?
The priests began to grow weary of the constant daily summons to the temple and the sacrifices. They did a horrible thing: they began to bring the worst of their animals to the altar. Only the diseased, or blind or worthless animals were selected for God.
And the people also began to neglect the Lord by stealing money from the Lord. They only brought a small portion of the tithe required by God. They kept most of their wealth and gave God only the meager leftovers.
Solomon reminds us today that we must hear the Call of the Harvest and bring our wealth to the Lord. Then, he said, would dour barns be filled to overflowing. And Malachi reminds us that God deserves more than our leftovers.
Three Calls of the Harvest
Let me briefly give you three calls of the harvest for us to consider this morning at Harvest Home.
- The Call of our Wealth
Each year we come to this event planning on honoring God with our offering. We come because love our church, we love our Savior. This is an ancient tradition. Solomon taught us to do this. Malachi taught us to do this. Jesus likewise taught us to give to the Lord.
*Mathew 2:21. “Give to Caesar the money that is due Caesar. And give to God that which is due to Him.
Our goal this year was $15,000. Your goal might be small but sacrificial for you. Perhaps you brought $5 or $10 or more. Only you will know if your gift honored God. Only you will know if you stole from God.
*My attempted robbery in Athens. I was on an Athens bus. It was crowded and I stood holding on to the ceiling strap. A Greek man stood in front of me with a newspaper. We swayed back and forth as the bus rounded various corners. When the bus finally stopped, the man began to pull away from and when he did so, my wallet fell from his folded newspaper to the floor. That was I knew I had been robbed. I was so angry. Perhaps this is how God felt in our Malachi text. Let us answer the call of the Harvest today and not rob God of our tithe.
- The Call of a Hundred Dreams.
For our church to truly prosper, we need more than money. We also need to bring our Dreams. I believe when a church stops dreaming, it starts dying.
*The BGAV meeting this week in Richmond hummed with countless dreams. I could scarcely take it all in. Every speaker talked of a dream his or her church had for ministry. Let me share just one that the BGAV has been promoting for five years.
*More than Nets is a mission project between Virginia Baptists and Ghana. It focuses on the crisis of malaria in Yendi, a region in Northeast Ghana. Every year scores of people die malaria. The solution is a simple net. A net costs about $10. The goal is to deliver 100,000 nets in five years. At the BGAV meeting, the moderator announced that 85,000 nets have been delivered so far. An offering was taken. The goal is almost completed.
What is your dream for DBC? Perhaps you haven’t thought of this for a while. but the Call of Harvest is more than money. It is dreams. What can we do? What will we do here on our mission field?
*One of my dreams before I ever arrived was to start a program to help teachers in the nearest local school. That dream is now underway. Once a month a number of you join me in bringing refreshments and a smile to the local teachers of the Accawmacke Elementary School. Already I see an impact at the school. The teachers are so appreciative of our gifts to them. Many of them share personal problems and concerns as they take an apple or banana in the morning. What are your dreams for our church?
- The Call of Talent
The final call of Harvest Home is the call of talent. What good are money and dreams without talent? As you bring your tithe and your dreams, you must also bring your unique talent. What can you do? Everybody has a talent or a gift. Paul made that clear when he spoke to the Corinthian church.
*Last week we issued a call to help staff the nursery. Immediately many of you stepped forward and now I understand that we have a good foundation for rotation of workers in the nursery.
*Rustburg BC. At the BGAV meeting, I learned of a small church in Rustburg VA who has a wood ministry. Men in the congregation chop and deliver wood to 28 poor families who would freeze in the mountains without it.
We heard at the beginning of this sermon Jack London’s Call of the Wild. And from that illustration, we have considered the Call of the Harvest.
We must answer three calls:
- The Call to Give
- The Call to Dream
- The Call to Act