We Can't do Anything About Last Year's Harvest, But We Can About This Year's
I. We cannot do anything about last year’s harvest.
A. Whatever we did last year, last month, last week, even yesterday is over and past.
1. There are no time machines to take us back so we can change what we did yesterday.
2. Nothing we do today can in any way change the record of what was sown and what was or will be reaped as a consequence.
3. It is either a harvest that will be worthy of praise or burning--or perhaps portions of both--but whatever was produced stands as the record of the lives we live on this earth.
B. The problem with all too many Christians is that they are not forgetting the past and reaching on to what is before.
1. If we failed to produce a crop worthy of the Lord's praise last year our brooding and wallowing in self-pit for having wasted this time will only cause us to fail to produce anything glorifying to the Lord this year.
2. If we did use the opportunities the Lord gave us and produced a harvest of good things, we cannot rest on our laurels.
3. This is another year; and just because the Holy Spirit led and blessed last year, as we were obedient to Him and the Word, does not mean that we automatically will produce anything good this year.
II. We must learn to live with the consequences of our failures.
A. Failures do not = 'a failure'.
1. When we begin to believe that we are failures, we lose heart.
2. It neutralizes us and wipes out our ability to use our life and the gifts God has given us.
B. But how do we avoid this?
1. By confessing our failures to God: this wipes the slate clean.
2. By knowing and resting in the fact we are forgiven through Christ and can move ahead for the Lord and in life regardless of the past. cf Ps. 32:1-8
3. By seeing and using the trials caused by our failures as character builders.
4. By forgetting the past (triumphs and failures) so we can press on for the future with renewed commitment to God's will.
Ill. We must commit ourselves to this year's harvest.
A. We must press on in our lives by sowing for the future and for the Lord.
1. We must press on toward the upward call of God in Christ.
2. Whether we have experienced victory and growth, or failure, or a lack of growth.
B. See: Philippians 3:13-14
IV. We must not judge our harvest by the standards of the world and its ideas of success.
A. It is hard to face failure because it is so ugly and devastating, but our failures can become like a ladder to success.
1. We often sing a great old hymn, "Victory in Jesus," and have a hard time admitting that the road to victory is often filled with speed bumps, pot holes, accidents, and detours.
2. Perhaps we have forgotten that not many wise, noble, and mighty are chosen by God.
3. We judge ourselves and others by a false standard.
4. God usually chooses the weak, and the ordinary, so why is it that we consider ourselves failures?
5. it is because we often have a totally false notion of success.
B. Success comes in being obedient to the Lord and growing in character like the Lord Jesus.
1. It is not in numbers, names, position, power, or prestige.
2. It is not in possessions, activities, abilities, or acceptance by people.
3. If we judged the Lord on the basis of His possessions, acceptance, names and numbers that followed Him, He would be a failure.
4. In our world, people typically use the wrong yardstick.
5. How quick we are to take credit for our successes and to blame others for our failure.
6. But we can have everything that the world thinks makes us a success, and still be a huge failure in the eyes of God.
There are two days in every week about which we should not worry--two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension.
One of these days is Yesterday with its mistakes and cares, its aches and pains, its faults and blunders.
a) Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
b) All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.
c) We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said.
d) Yesterday is gone.
The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance.
a) Tomorrow is beyond our immediate control.
b) Tomorrow's sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds--but it will rise.
c) Until it does, we can do nothing.
That leaves only one day--Today.
a) Each of us, by the grace of God, can fight the battles of just one day.
b) It is only when we add the burdens of Yesterday and Tomorrow--that we break down.