"For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
Imagine with me that there are two farmers in the heartland of our country that have their farmland right next to one another. The first farmer is a God-fearing man that is a believer in Jesus Christ. He is faithful to God in not only his words and actions but most of all his heart. The second farmer is an angry man that has no time for "religion" and despises God in his heart.
The region in which they live is going through a terrible drought. There has not been rain for months and the crops are beginning to deteriorate rapidly. If there is not rain in the next few weeks, all will be lost. Both men will lose every thing if things continue the way they are. They have watered their crops the best that they can but the shortage on water has put them at certain restrictions. The hot sun acts as a furnace on the tender plants below. There are no human answers for their plight.
The second farmer walks out into the field and feels the dry soil crack under his work boots. He leans over to inspect a withered plant and easily pulls it out of the ground. With the leaves of the plant clutched in his hand, he raises his fist at the sky and curses God. The first farmer understands his fear and frustration. He too has felt the dry soil under his feet and watched his plants shrivel up and die. He does something completely different though. In the middle of his field he falls to his knees and begs his Heavenly Father for rain. He calls on God for mercy, grace, and relief from this drought. He praises God for the many years that he has been sustained and asks God to come through once again.
The following week the two farmers are both in their fields for another sad inspection, but suddenly they feel something foreign fall on their heads. It started with just a small drip, but very soon it opens up into a beautiful steady shower. It seems as if the mist of Heaven has settled over their farmland and for several days this consistent shower waters their crops to the roots and below. The first farmer knelt once again in this field, and as the mud began to collect on his knees he praised God with a full voice. The second farmer mumbled "It's about time" and complained about having to walk all the way back to the farmhouse in the rain.
Why did God let both farmers have rain? Could he not have just let the rain fall on the first farmer's field to teach the second farmer a lesson? There are two reasons that come immediately to mind, and I am sure that we could think of more. First, God is merciful. Ask yourself this question: which farmer deserved the rain? The truth is neither one. Every thing that we receive from God is only out of His grace and mercy. You and I deserve nothing from a holy and righteous God, but He in His love chooses to bless us any way. Second, the first farmer is most definitely a minister of preservation for the second. The Bible says that God's children are the salt of the earth. If you remove the salt, there will only be spoil and rot. God's people are what keep God's hand of judgment from coming so swiftly on this world. They are also what keep God's hand of blessing on this world. That second farmer has no idea that God's love for His neighbor benefited him.
Continue to be the salt of the earth. You never know who it is around you that needs to see God's hand on their lives.
May you be the first farmer today!