I’ve been reading the book of Matthew online as part of my devotional reading. This morning, I actually picked up my Bible and backtracked a little bit, to Matthew chapter 3. John the Baptist was talking to the Pharisees. He basically told them they weren’t going to skate by because they were descendants of Abraham, or because they were Pharisees or Sadducees. He warned them that they would be judged by the fruit of their lives, not on their title, or their ancestry. On Sunday, Pastor Kevin had talked about descendants of Abraham; that is wasn’t just physical descendants that the promise applied to, but all those who would believe, even the Gentiles. That’s us. Then this verse jumped out at me…
“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matt. 3:12
At one point, I had done a study on wheat in the Bible so this really spoke to me. If memory serves me right, (I would check this online but the internet is uncooperative at the moment) when you thresh the wheat, you get the kernels of wheat, plus the stalks and the chaff. The chaff is the little husks that encase the wheat kernel, so they have the shape of wheat and look like wheat, but they are empty inside. Totally useless, yet they look like the real thing, until you make a closer inspection.
John the Baptist was talking to the religious leaders, telling them they may look good on the outside, but if their lives weren’t producing “ fruit worthy of repentance” that all the baptisms and law-keeping in the world weren’t going to save them if their hearts weren’t right. But I don’t think the application stops there.
We all have things in our lives that, like chaff, look alright on the outside, but when examined in closer light, are empty and useless. They may be harmless things, and not necessarily sin, but they don’t produce any fruit or build any character in our lives. Maybe it’s what you are reading or watching on TV, maybe it’s the time you spend shopping or playing computer solitaire. Ouch. Not that any of those things in small doses are wrong, I’m not saying you should give up TV or facebook or Farmville. We all need some down time to relax. But to be honest, we all have things in our lives that take up too much space with their “nothingness”. I guess the challenge for us, as Americans, is what to do with that down time, to make it more fruitful. Next time you have a block of time, and your first thought is a time waster, stop and ask God “What would you like me to do with this time?” Maybe it’s read a book, have some devotions with your spouse, play a game with your kids, write a letter, bake someone a cake, walk the dog, spend time in prayer, take a nap or call a friend. I’m sure if you ask Him, He’ll be glad to drop a suggestion into your spirit.
Life in our house has entered another season, as Scott heads off to his new job, I’m home alone. I am asking God to teach me how to order my house and my schedule, and lead me in the way HE would have me to go. I don’t want to be busy, with life looking good on the outside, I want to be fruitful, I want my life to have substance and value to those around me. Sometimes that just means extra time sitting at His feet, and sometimes it will mean putting wheels on my prayers. When I remember to ask Him, He will be faithful to guide me in the right direction…
On the journey, Cheryl 3/19/2012