Devotional: October 4th
We are just a few days from the advent of autumn or fall as some choose to call it. A friend of mine always used to lament, "You know what fall means don't you? Winter's coming. Then it gets cold." The old timers used to pay attention to the seasons and mark the way they approached. Then they would note the difference and adjust their work accordingly. That's how the Farmer's Almanac got started. Someone decided to compile all the observations of the old timers on the changes of the seasons and when things normally happened.
Some people put a lot of stock in such things while others just laugh it off and go their merry way. I can remember Clyde Bennett from Bath County telling me a lot of the old things concerning planting and harvesting and even when to dehorn cattle. Clyde had been around a few years by the time I met him. He was pushing ninety when I became his minister at the White Oak Christian Church on old Route 1944, better known as the White Oak Road, just outside Owingsville, Kentucky.
Clyde was a successful farmer. He told me he owed a lot of it to the signs. He said that if a man paid attention to the signs he would always know the proper time to do just about everything, even marry. He filled me in "right proper", as he was known to say a lot, on many of the signs of farming, but never quite got around to letting me know the one about marrying. I guess he figured that, since I was already happily married, I didn't need to know the right signs. Clyde and his wife, Mammy Oak, had been married around sixty-five years by the time we met.
Clyde had a quiet way of helping me as a new preacher. He would talk about the signs many of the times that we would visit and then he would "let me chew on it" for a while before checking back with me to find out what I thought. About a year before I left the White Oak church Clyde and I were having one of our talks when he laid a big one on me. "Tom," he started slowly, "your job is to teach people all about the signs. The signs about when to let Jesus save 'em, and when Jesus is gonna come back fer 'em." Clyde didn't miss my ministry by much.
In the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus gave the promise of the one telling sign of authenticity of Messianic ministry. The Rich Man had begged for Lazarus to return to his family and warn them so they wouldn't fall to the same fate as him. Abraham told him that they had Moses and the prophets and that was enough. "And he said, 'No, Father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' " Luke 16:30, 31 There's the sign. How many have heeded it?
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