Lost on the Sidelines

Written by Angie Drummonds
This past week I was on vacation at the beach with my family. The beach is one of my favorite places to be. There is something about the ocean that calms me and gives me peace. It’s when I look out at this massive body of water that I feel God so near to me. The beach is a place where I am refreshed and recharged. I spend a lot of time just being quiet and listening to the sounds around me. Often in these quiet moments, I hear God speak to my heart, just as He did this week several times. 
I was sitting on the balcony of our condo, enjoying the warm breeze and the beauty of the ocean when I noticed a young man beginning to gather in the rental chairs and umbrellas. He had a system where he would close a section of umbrellas and then fold that section of chairs and stack the chairs in a way where he could carry eight of them at a time all the way back to the storage area. Once he dropped off the chairs he would walk back to the section and gather the closed umbrellas, sling them over his shoulder, and walk them back to the storage area. He continued this process over and over and over. It seemed as if he made a hundred trips down to the shoreline and all the way back to the top of the beach. 
It felt like the progress he was making was painfully slow as I looked down the long sandy white beach to see rows of chairs waiting to be collected. I felt sorry for the guy and thought to myself, there is no way I could do that. It would take forever and I’d be worn out. So being the methodical thinker that I am, I thought of a great way to save him time and make him more effective. If it were me, I would have a four wheeler with a trailer and I’d drive down the rows of chairs, hopping off to gather them and put them on the trailer and then empty them all at once, after they were all loaded on the trailer. It seemed like a much better plan to me. It was then God reminded me of this verse: “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few’” (Matthew 9:37)
Sitting on my balcony, I could see there was a lot of work to be done. But I didn’t make any moves to go and help this boy. Of all the ways that I thought of for the process to be more efficient for this young man, not one of them involved me jumping up to help him. I was comfortable, it was my time to finally relax. There’s much work to do for the kingdom of God, but not many want to put in the work. We see what needs to be done, but choose not to do it. Why? Because it’s not comfortable, or it takes a lot of time? Is it because we want to do it our way (the easier and quicker way) or just wait hoping that someone else will come around and do it? Sometimes the work that the Lord puts in front of us seems daunting, never-ending, like we just keep doing the same thing over and over and over without seeing fruit. 
How many opportunities are we missing by sitting on the sidelines? Every single one of us have memories of people who have poured countless hours into our lives and into our walks with Christ. We also have stories of people that we crossed paths with one time that the Lord used as a blessing for the moment, but that impact stays with us. What if the Lord wants to use one moment to pour that into someone else? What if we are being asked to take someone under our wing and invite them to dinner and answer all of their questions? Don’t be afraid to step out of your ordinary routine to do something extraordinary for the Lord. 
We can easily look around and see the work that needs to be done to reach the lost. But in order to truly see the harvest, we have to have the workers. We have to have people willing to be obedient even when it pushes us out of our comfort. Jesus was teaching his disciples in this verse in Matthew about the abundant harvest he saw all around him, as he looked at all the lost in the crowd. There isn’t a shortage of those to minister to; there is a shortage of people willing to serve, to sacrifice, and to not take the easy way out when the work gets hard. So let me ask you this: are you willing?

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