Time For God: Day 10

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: 2 Timothy 2:
The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.
Under the African sun, women toil in dry fields. Their backs fold forward bending double from their waists. Facing downhill, their blunt hoes strike at hard, dusty soil.

The rainy season is a prayer yet to be answered. For the past three and a half years not one of the two annual rainy seasons has arrived. Yet, the ground demands to be prepared. Toil and perspiration carve long drill channels against persistent rock-hard dirt; sweet potatoes are finally able to be planted. Vultures circle overhead.

Long days fall away slowly from morning until sundown. Tomorrow becomes another yesterday. Thirsty women move slowly in unison. Their backbreaking work breaks back the soil. Tired women hope for a harvest soon, before their children die.

In the market malnourished goats walk with showy hipbones. The sunken flesh tells its story, the nearby riverbed is a sandy road. In normal times one goat would make a feat for many families to share. Now it requires three for the same menu to be served. Increased prices make the high cost of meat prohibitive.

From the small round homes with thatched roofs shoeless women appear. The food-bank truck arrives. Large bags of maize are distributed; thin but eager arms receive the gift of life for today. The women will sell half for cash to buy other needed items. The remainder is divided into daily rations for just as long as it may last.

On a nearby hill, irrigation pipes shower water clouds over lush green fields. A politician’s crop of roses will fly to European flower markets today …just like yesterday. The hardworking women farmers will not be first to partake of the crops.

The Apostle reminds Timothy of the work of the Gospel. God’s justice flows through it. Integrity is often absent from the broken world where we labor. Yet, God’s grace abounds. For the faithful Gospel worker there will be a harvest—guaranteed. It may take longer than we hope yet patient endurance is rewarded. We will see others turn to Christ in surprising ways. The harvest will arrive. It rewards hard working farmers in God’s fields. And we are blessed to taste it.
Are you weary in the work? Are you laboring in a time of drought? Do you feel bent double by your task? The Lord is with you. He shares your burden to make it light.
Lord of the Harvest, when my strength fades and my efforts fail draw alongside me. Holy Spirit, anoint my frail efforts and multiply my harvest for your glory and joy. Establish the work of my hands so that I might see the Savior’s work in me. Amen.
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