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To the Harvest

By Rev Dr Colin Peckham

It happened one morning in a church hall in Durban. A group of Christian workers were kneeling in prayer. A young agricultural student was among them. he was the last to pray, and in his prayer he poured out his soul in a fervent plea that God would send forth young people to the world's great harvest fields.

He of course was studying agriculture. he was the only son in the family and his father's large farm awaited him. Of material things he had no lack. he had a car and a girl friend. An empty home was beckoning him from the farm and in due course it would be his residence. it was no ordinary farm either. To it his settler fore-fathers had come. the family had scatterd all over but this was the original possession and he was in the direct line of inheritance.

In the cool of the evening one day he had walked about in the park-like garden with it huge cypress trees and its spreading lawns. Distinctly, audibly, his voice had rung out, "Lord, You can't expect me to leave this beautiful place!" Was God already calling him forth to gather a far greater harvest than could ever be gathered on his farm? Did he not already sense the voice of the gospel? But back to the prayer meeting!

He had prayed, "Lord, oh Lord thrust out young people!" They rose from their knees and in one memorable moment one of the workers stepped over to him, smote him on the shoulder, looked straight into his earnest young face and laughed. it was a hearty laugh, a laugh full of joy and expectancy. "My brother," he cried, "you'll have to answer you own prayer!"

Yes two years later he boarded a train bound for a Bible College in Cape Town. God had called him! God had commissioned him! He was to be an ambassador of the King! Why, angels envied him! He thrilled at the thought of it! The farm and all that it meant to him had strangely faded into the background whilst the great task of winning souls for Christ had claimed his life. Prepare for this he must, and Bible College was the next step.

Since those days he has criss-crossed Southern Africa preaching the glorious gospel, engaged in the highest calling on earth, that of leading men and women to the Saviour.

Is God calling you I wonder? Do you sense with awe and probably a sense of unworthiness, a strong drawing to the work of God? Has the Lord been speaking to you through His Word?

It behoves you to be very careful when you hear the voice of God in the realm of the call to his service, for you will undoubtedly become the special target of the devil whose ruthless intention is to divert you from this high and holy calling. You may perhaps feel that you should reconsider the issue. Material things may look large again. Attractive positions, good salaries, the devastating effect of worldliness on the lives of your acquaintances, could all combine to dampen your enthusiasm. Winning souls, the burning desire of your heart, could become a side issue. You may be tempted to be concerned more and more about getting on in life, preparing for marriage, a family and its needs, and less and less about perishing humanity.

Is it really necessary to bury your lovely young life in some work which may be altogether unknown? After all, your talents are needed here. You friends are doing so well in life.

Beware! Oh, beware Satan's wiles! How unutterably sad if the call, once so real and vital, fades into insignificance. How tragic should you miss God's purpose for your life!

Come, let us consider some guiding principles in the matter of God's call.

Remember that He is your loving Heavenly Father. He is neither harsh nor unreasonable. he will require nothing of you which would be harmful to you, the centre of His Will is the safest place in which you can ever be. he loves you ten thousand times more than any human being ever did, and He seeks only your good. Surely then, to this all-loving God you may safely commit your life and trust His perfect guidance.

Mean what you say. If you have given yourself to God for His service should He call you, remember-He has heard your prayer! You cannot fool with God! Keep consecrated. Only when we are altogether at God's disposal, and have not choice in the question of a call can we be led aright. Expect Him to speak to you. Do not shrink away should He do, for He loves you and wants only the best for you. Light and direction come suddenly to some. Others are led gradually over a period of time. However you may experience it. If you are receptive to hear His voice, you will be lead aright.

Prepare yourself for whatever God has for you. Read missionary biographies, and observe how God has led others. These thrilling stories stimulate interest in God's work, and inspire young people to live utterly for God.

Do not let world prospects dampen and weaken the call of God. Often doors of great opportunity in the secular sphere seem to be opening just when God would lead you forth. Beware lest the devil divert you from God's great purpose for your life to a seemingly bright future of material security.

Do not allow the advice of well-meaning friends to side-track you in seeking God's perfect will for your life. They may not know what God has in mind for you, and whilst the advice of truly spiritual servants of God should be weighed and considered before the Lord, no man can presume to dictate to another in this delicate and all-important area of a life call.

Feed the call of God with the Word-you can lose it! You can become so involved in life's activities that the voice of God becomes vague and indistinct. Allow the Lord to speak to you constantly from His Word. Spend time with God!

Continue serving the Lord. Acts 13:2, 'And as they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.' Whilst they were in the midst of Christian activity, God called them elsewhere. Seek some sphere of active service for God! There is nothing more wonderful than leading souls to Christ. Witness to other and spread the gospel message where you are at the moment.

Ask God to give you a word from the Bible. How important to receive a word from the scriptures. God speaks to us from the Word, and this sinks into our hearts, often forming the basis of His call. god calls through His Word. Later, in difficult circumstances, you will be able to turn to the Word which God gave you at the beginning and cast yourself upon that, telling God that because He has called you, you are His responsibility.

Always wait for clear guidance before taking the first step. Don't make decisions when you are in darkness. Wait for the light to shine, even if it is just to enable you to take one step. he will lead you forward step by step, but you will need to be sure before you move.

Don't tarry after God has instructed you to move. If you are sure that God is thrusting you forward, then step out trusting Him to take care of the circumstances. You stay at the peril of the eternal welfare of many souls.

If you don't know what to do, do the next obvious thing and then watch your reactions. The peace of God, that most delicate instrument will arbitrate. If you have peace, continue, and the Lord will lead your future; if you have no peace, acknowledge your mistake, retrace your steps, and wait for the Lord to lead you.

Do not let opposition frighten you from God's perfect will. Sometimes you may receive opposition from the most unexpected quarters. Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord and He will assuredly lead you into all His good pleasure for you.

Best wishes for a God-honouring, blessed and fruitful life in His perfect will and glorious service.