Many of you have heard the old farm idiom “make hay while the sun is shining.” Most Minnesotans practice making hay while the sun is shining very well. In fact, from Memorial Day till after Labor Day there are several ministries in every church that are put on hold because our people are out enjoying the results of the sun—extended daylight and warmth. And it is very easy to understand after our long winters where we only see our neighbors driving into their garages and we don’t have much outdoor interactions with others. Summer then becomes a time of recreating and getting together with our friends. But how do we as followers of Jesus make kingdom hay while the sun is shining? How do we take advantage of the summer as individuals and churches?
As followers of Jesus we know that Jesus has called us to be his witnesses (…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8) and his ambassadors (Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. 2 Corinthians 5:20). Also, God has placed us where we live and work for his specific purpose (…and he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God… Acts 17:26). From these passages we realize that God has strategically called and placed us so that all people can see and hear God’s calling them to salvation on their turf.
To make hay while the sun is shining, the farmer prepares by mowing the hay and getting it in the windrows to bale. Then he waits for the sun to dry it and when he gets the opportunity to bale the hay, he works diligently until he is done or the weather changes. So what do we need to do to make hay while the sun is shining to advance Christ’s Kingdom?
To prepare, we need to model and help our people live out their identity in Jesus: being active followers as His witnesses and ambassadors. We are as much the church of Jesus Christ at home, work, or play as we are when we are gathered together at the building. We are only truly effective as the Church when we are scattered among all people living out and sharing the gospel. In fact, Jesus set the example for us to go to and seek the lost when He came to the earth as the Son of God and lived out His life on our turf, the earth. We need to do the same kind of incarnational living intentionally among our co-workers, friends, and neighbors—being Jesus’s witnesses and ambassadors where He planted us.
To live this incarnational lifestyle we will need to be willing to reach out to the people whom God put us among. We will need to pray for God to give us regular opportunities to interact with our friends, neighbors, and co-workers in ways that will let Christ’s love and the Gospel touch them. We will need to have an answer for the hope of salvation that we have, so we can clearly share Jesus when we get the opportunity. We need to focus on making the most of our God-given opportunities as we intentionally prepare and look for these opportunities. Both as individuals and churches, we will need to prayerfully consider how we can more effectively use our great Minnesota summers to get on the turf of our friends, neighbors, and co-workers so that we can build meaningful relationships to advance Christ’s Kingdom.
Let’s make hay while the sun is shining.