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Humbler, Harder (and Better)?

John Dysinger

Presenter

John Dysinger

Bountiful Blessings Farm

Conference

Recorded

  • January 19, 2018
    6:45 PM

Series

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Tonight we're going to talk about humbler harder and better. But before we do that I'd like to. Try to seek to humble myself before. Our Dear Heavenly Father we come to you this evening. Wanting to hear a word from you Lord I'm wanting to give a word from you. I'm not wanting to share my thoughts because I don't trust my thoughts. But I trust your thoughts and your words so I pray that you will use me and that your spirit will be present here. To cuts in he'll. As you know needs to be done. Mayor name be glorified and May May we know that we have been in your presence. In Jesus name I pray in. The most twenty first century Americans better equates with bigger faster stronger Pretty year more expensive more popular more something this evening we want to look at how God defines better. And I want to begin by sharing some of our personal story. You know I grew up wanting to do something big for God. I had a grandfather who was an amazing man amazingly humble man. But used by God in a powerful way he was a youth of Vangelis fact some of you older ones may. Remember him Elder E.T.L. Minchin. And you know I don't think I ever went to a church with my grandfather without people coming up to him afterwards and saying elder mentioned I know you don't remember me but. You spoke at a week of prayer. At our school and my life was changed. And I mean I've heard that over and over and it really impacted me to know that this man had been used by God to impact hundreds of lives and so I grew up saying wow that's amazing. I want to be able to do that when we graduated from college my wife and I thought we were well qualified and well prepared to change the world. We really believe that we had gotten the education that we had gotten the practical experience we were involved in the lot of extra curricular activities and that we were ready to go out and be mighty men and women for God We went to Kenya. For six years as teachers. And after our two oldest children were born there and I can't get into the details of it but we came under conviction on the importance of our family being our first mission field and that was because we were seeing a lot of missionaries children we taught missionaries children who were really hurting. And struggling. Because their parents had neglected them. Because they were saving the world and we knew there was just something not right something didn't quite hear and so we drove us to the Bible and to the Spirit of Prophecy saying what's going on here how can we come up with a different outcome. And I say we started searching and I'll never forget we had one weekend off which was rare for us at that school boarding academy you know how that is. And we went to this little guest house that was some Swedish missionaries that lived near us and they were we were good friends and they had this little guest house and we went there and we just pored over the Bible in the Spirit of Prophecy saying Lord show us teach us. How where we should go what we should do we were actually at this point we had we had served six years and so we were preparing to return to the states and we were really seeking God as to what we should do. And it was at that weekend as we were studying we came across this verse and first thus longings for eleven. It says Make it your ambition and this is the end I.V. and I know that's not the best one to study theology from but I love the wording of this make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. You should mind your own business and work with your hands just as we told you so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. And that really had a sense make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. That didn't mesh with. With changing the world and then we started coming across other things some quotes and you know as I was preparing this I still have a binder with all my handwritten quotes and it's very precious to me because that was a very special time in our spiritual walk and these are some of the quotes we found the essential lesson of contented industry in the necessary duties of life however humble is yet to be learned by the greater portion of Christ's followers. The essential lesson of contented industry in the necessary duties of life if there is no human eye to criticize or work nor voice to praise or blame it should be done just as well as if the infinite One himself were personally to inspect it wow. Then. We found this one any honest work because again at this point we're saying OK Lord we've done this for six years. Do we go back to the states and get into another boarding academy or do you have another plan for us any honest work is a blessing in face fullness in it may prove a training for higher tress however lowly any work done for God. And this is the key here with the full surrender of self is as acceptable to him as the highest service. Wherever we may be Christ bids us to take up the duty that presents itself. And then. It's it's a long story It was really actually over a period of about four years that we were studying and coming under conviction. Eventually Well I got a job teaching elementary school and and it still wasn't meeting our family goals and so I quit I turned in my resignation. And then it was like OK now what am I going to do and we felt strongly that the Lord had led us I'd never encourage anyone to quit your job unless you really believe is is guiding in convicting. But we were convicted and we moved on that conviction and so I was spending a lot of time with the Lord saying OK Lord I've got a family here. You know how am I going to support them how am I going to earn a living my focus was on earning a living and you know what God spoke to me that course it wasn't in an audible voice but it was very very clear impression he said you are not to focus on earning a living I promise that right Matthew six thirty three. You are to focus on service so we had been. Studying these scriptures reading these quotes God says focus on service and it all started jelling in my mind realizing that it's not really so much what we do but how we do it. And whether self is surrendered in the doing in fact I begin to see what seems to be a consistent pattern in the scriptures in the spirit of prophecy that humbler and harder is actually better and so the Lord put us on the Moses plant you know at the most this plan is. Let's look at the life of Moses for a little bit. If there had been this review had been around in his day Moses would have been on the front cover. He was someone who had it all the highest civil and military training heir to the throne of the most powerful nation on earth his intellectual greatness distinguishes him above the great men of all ages as historian poet philosopher general of armies and legislator he stands without a peer yet with the world before him he had the moral strength to refuse the flattering prospects of wealth and greatness and fame choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season so do you get the picture here Moses Now of course is in the courts of. Pharaoh ferals daughter. He's gotten all this amazing education but yet he's staying true to God he's serving God he's choosing to call him self a Hebrew instead of an Egyptian So not only was he great in the world's eyes. But he was also living for God in spite of all the pressure exerted on him to conform to the Egyptian religion he remained unshaken in his determination to render homage to none save the one God the maker of heaven and earth. So he had backbone he was not going to be swayed he had vision and the unwavering loyalty to the Hebrew religion he was the man. Poised and ready to spring into action as the great deliverer of God's people. He had it all figured out he knew how many Israelites there were how many Egyptians there were he knew the best route out of Egypt and what it was going to take to hold off the Egyptians long enough to make their escape he was ready to act and we know the results. In slaying the Egyptian. Moses had fallen into the same error so often committed by his fathers of taking into their own hands the work that God has promised to do it was not God's will to deliver his people by warfare as Moses thought why was it not God's will to do it that way because who would have gotten the glory but by his own mighty power that the glory might be ascribed to him alone so instead of a brilliant military revolt against the Egyptians Moses headed to the wilderness with his tail between his legs man. Would have dispensed with that long period of toil in obscurity deeming it a great loss of time you know great loss of time seems a little understated here this was a great humanitarian crisis this was a nation in slavery suffering dying and their leader is off herding sheep for forty years does that not seem like a great loss of time to you the quote continues but infinite wisdom called him who was to become the leader of his people to spend forty years in the humble work of a shepherd. No it vantage that human training or culture could bestow. Could be a substitute for this experience. Do you understand that. So let's try to wrap our minds around this Moses the admin this review man of the year the head elder of his church sound a school teacher with multiple Ph D.'s from Egypt Harvard University a five star general in the Egyptian army with a Nobel Prize in Literature. And yet he wasn't prepared to Leeds God's people out of Egypt let's be brutally honest and admit that our education and accomplishments often breed in US feelings of pride and importance that make us feel well qualified to do God's work well I can promise you that your qualifications pale in comparison to Moses but we read that no advantage that human training or culture could bestow could be a substitute for his forty years as a humble Shepherd So why do we keep trying to give our children every advantage of human training and culture. Just buy them some sheet. So what was it that Moses hadn't learned yet what was it that he had to go to the wilderness for forty years to learn I mean he he he learned everything Egypt had to offer. He'd had a good family background his mother had given him a solid background in the Scriptures Well I guess they didn't have scripture so that given him a solid balance in. The knowledge of God and nature. Oral tradition passed down through the patriarchs Well let's look at what he learned first of all he had a lot he had an learn. From his time in the palace he had seen and heard many worldly philosophies that had left deep impressions on his mind we're told that time change of surroundings and communion with God could remove these impressions you have stuff you need to learn and learn. Time change of surroundings and communion with God That's the. That's the prescription. But it was a struggle as for life we are told to put those things behind him. You know I know what that struggle is like when you've grown up your whole life believing. Things. And then you go to God's word and inspired counsel. And you say wait a minute. This isn't this isn't connecting this isn't adding up so what else did he. Learn. Shut in by the bulwarks of the mountains Moses was alone with God Wow that sounds good to me. Here his pride and self sufficiency were swept away. In the stern simplicity I like that Stern not just simplicity Stern simplicity of his wilderness life the results of the ease and luxury of Egypt disappeared Moses became patience reverence and humble. In the school of self-denial and hardship have have you all graduated from that school school of self-denial and hardship he was to learn patience to temper his passions before he could govern wisely he must be trained to obey his own heart must be fully in harmony with God. Before he could teach the knowledge of his will to Israel is your heart fully in harmony with God If it's not then you haven't graduated yet from the school of self-denial and hardship. Finally forty years later you. You know how long forty years is. It's quite a while it's the majority of my lifetime. Forty years later after every last vestige of self had died God told Moses OK now you're ready the divine command given to Moses found him self distrustful slow of speech and timid. He was overwhelmed with a sense of is incapacity to be a melted peace for God to Israel is that the kind of leader you would choose. Someone who's self distrustful. Can you do this I I don't think I can slow of speech and timid forty years earlier Moses had thought he had the tiger by the tail he thought he was the man ready. To deliver God's people. And now he was totally overwhelmed at the thought and God says now you're ready I wish we had more time to explore other examples from the Bible in history of those who have learned that humbler and harder is better but let's jump straight to the perfect example. Moses was not the perfect example he made mistakes Jesus made no mistakes. What kind of training did he have for his most important mission. Well I wish we could expand on this more but he had a quiet and simple childhood parents do you know this quote The design of ages page seventy four. The more quiet in the simple the life of the child's. The more free from artificial excitement that's prophecy right there free from artificial excitement. And the more in harmony with nature the more favorable is it to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength that was our motto. With our child rearing and we make no claims to have done it right but. You know why we were able to lead a quiet and simple life. So we didn't have money to do anything more. We didn't have money to go places we didn't have money to to have fancy vacations we had very simple pleasures. Simple pleasures are the best. Parents I just challenge you. Put this on your wall. Read it every day. Because twenty first century childhood for most Americans is not quiet it's not simple it's not free from artificial excitement and it's not in harmony with nature. And so what kind of results are we going to get. So Jesus had a quiet and simple childhood because he was poor or he was industrious. The parents of Jesus were poor and dependent upon their daily toil. We call that hand to mouth is today right. He was familiar with poverty self-denial and privation that that kind of hurts a little bit privation I mean self-denial you know that's one thing but privation in my mind privation means going without things you feel like you really need. But he was familiar with it that's the life he lived growing up but notice the next sentence this experience was a safeguard to him. In his industrious life there were no idle moments to invite temptation no aimless hours open the way for corrupting associations so far as possible he closed the door to the tempter Could it be that. Jesus needed a humbler harder life. To develop his character and if he needed it he lived the life of a humble servant. If you have your Bibles just turn quickly with me to Mark Chapter ten versus forty two to forty five Mark Chapter ten versus forty two to forty five. We know how the disciples were always arguing about who was the greatest Who was better right something better and so on Mark forty two ten forty two Jesus calls them to him and says and to them you know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them and their great ones exercise authority over them you know when you're in charge when you're somebody important you you call the shots you make the commands and everybody else does it right that's the way it works in the world. But so shell it not be among you. But whoever will be great among you shall be your minister or yours servant. And whosoever of you will be the chief ist shall be the servant of all for even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life. A ransom for many this is the God of the universe. You know if anybody should be ministered unto it out to be him right. But he didn't come to have people saying what can I do for you he came to say what can I do for you so let me ask you something how old was Jesus when he first recognise that he was the Messiah twelve that's our understanding that when he went to the temple with his parents it dawned on him that that sacrifice being slain there was him how old was he when he started his public ministry. Thirty so children do your math what's thirty minus twelve eighteen. OK eighteen years. How many of you young people are eighteen. OK We've got a few Is that a long time she says no. Seems like when you're eighteen that it usually feels like a long time for eighteen years so let's try to understand this Jesus realized he was the Messiah at twelve. For eighteen years after he gained that understanding he worked as a carpenter while the world groaned under its burden of guilt and pain. Does that boggle your mind. Let's put it in another way Jesus spent the first thirty years of his life in quiet humble labor. Preparing for three and a half years of public ministry what's the lesson for us look at this. I just want to say for those who are listening to or will be listening to this on audio verse that I will. Try to make sure that that the power points get on audio verse because I'm not taking time to read. The sources for all this but the sources are there. Jesus is our example as you believe that Jesus is our example there are many who dwell with interest upon the period of his public ministry while they pass unnoticed the teaching of his early years you know the Gospels other then a handful of verses are about his three and a half years of public ministry. But it is in his home life that he is the pattern for most children and youth all children and youth for all children and youth the Savior Condon sended to poverty that he might teach how closely we. May walk with God He lived to please honor and glorify his father in the common things of life. His work began in consecrating the lowly trade of the craftsman who toil for their daily bread now this is the kicker here he was doing God's service just as much when laboring at the carpenter's bench as when working miracles for the multitude. So we read that but yet do you feel like you're doing God's service just as much in the humble duties of life as when you're standing up front preaching or doing some other important thing for. Which sounds more exciting laboring in a carpenter's shop or working miracles for the multitude which sounds more Christian which has more danger for pride and self-importance Here's another quote. The greater part of our Saviour's life on earth was spent in patient toil in the carpenter's shop at Nazareth. Ministering angels attended the Lord of life as he walked side by side with peasants and laborers unrecognised and an honored he was as faithfully fulfilling his mission while working at his humble trade as when He healed the sick or walked upon the storm tossed waves of Galilee. So in the humblest duties and lowliest positions of life we may walk and work with Jesus. But it's just that healing the sick and walking upon the storm tossed wave seems so much. So much more important than working at a humble trade I mean that's like you know that's like real ministry and that's where the problem lies. To our human thinking and understanding. Having your own five zero one c three nonprofit ministry where you hold big meetings and knock on hundreds of doors and hand out thousands of tracks and prophesies and cast out devils and do many wonderful works is doing something big for God but if if it's tainted with pride and selfishness. Then Jesus is going to say Depart from me. Ye that work iniquity. Moses thought he was going to do something great for God and God had to show him no I want to do something great through you. But first you have to realize that you have nothing to contribute but an empty vessel scrubbed and clean and ready to use. Once Moses was emptied of self which took forty years of humble shepherding then God could use him Jesus came as our example and spent the first thirty years of his life in humble obscurity doing menial labor living a life of self-denial poverty and privation So what's the take home lesson for us now I know you're probably thinking. Yeah well that's all well and good but we have an urgent message to give to the world we are supposed to fulfill the Gospel commission of Matthew twenty eight and there's the three Angels' messages of Revelation fourteen and yes that is true and I don't want in any way to lessen the importance of those messages and I don't in any way want to. Put down demean anybody who's out there doing more public ministry that's not my point. But. Are the two mutually exclusive can we not be fulfilling the Great Commission in our humble lots. You know God really doesn't need our knowledge and skills and expertise as much as he needs humble vessels emptied of self that he can fill with his spirit. If you believe that yes we need preachers Yes we need medical missionaries Yes we need evangelists and doctors and nurses but we need them to be humbled and hard in Darfur you know hardening off is that's that's a garden term. Hardening on off is the process of preparing a plant to handle the real world after the confines of a. Of a greenhouse. Were hardened. In a good way by self-denial poverty privation Now you all of heard the saying The devil's in the ditches. There is a ditch on both sides of the narrow way and I and I'm seeking. To to be true to my understanding of the word. The one ditches the one we've been talking about where you think you have something great to offer God and you're doing it in your own power and strength but there is another ditch and that's thinking Well all I have to do is live my own humble life a little life here and somebody else can worry would saving the world so we need we need to look at Jesus' life for balance. Let's look at this quote Jesus was the fountain of healing mercy for the world. And through all those secluded years at Nazareth his life flowed out in currents of sympathy and tenderness. The aged the sorrowing in the send burden the children at play in their innocent joy the little creatures of the groves the patient beasts of burden all were happier for his presence he whose word of power up held the world's would stoop to relieve a wounded bird there was nothing beneath his notice nothing to which he disdained to minister people that service that's ministry. Jesus spent his whole life in ministry. It's just that the first thirty years were preparing him. For the last three and a half. The humblest and poorest of the disciples. Scuse me disciples of Jesus can be a blessing to others. And they may not realize that they are doing any special good but by their unconscious influence they may start waves of blessing that will widen and deepen and the blessid results they may never know until the day of final reward they do not feel or know that they are doing anything greats they are not required to weary themselves with anxiety about success wouldn't that be nice if we didn't have to weary ourselves with whether we're doing a good job they only have to go onward quietly doing faithfully the work that God's providence assigns and their life will not be in vain. So I'll share with you my personal conviction. And if I'm off you can come and tell me. Because that won't hurt my pride that will help my right if you tell me I'm wrong my personal conviction from study of the Bible and spirit of prophecy is that God calls all of us to a humbler harder life. Thank you you know Jesus calls it taking up our cross isn't that the same thing then if we prove face full with the work that lies nearest And if we have learned to put self aside. Die to self or surrender to self it's all the same thing then when God sees that we're ready he may call us to a bigger broader field of labor. If and when God wants to call us to something greater I believe he makes that crystal clear. Like Moses at the burning bush there was no questioning well is this really God calling me. A life being called by Alija. From the plow you know we're told in inspiration that many will be called from the plow as we get to the time of the end so I'm not in any way suggesting this is a lifelong calling. But he's calling those who are ready to serve. Jesus being called from the carpenter shop. You know there's a neat quote that. Says When Jesus heard. The message heard John the Baptist message he knew that his time had come and he hung up his tools bade his mother goodbye and left it's now time for me to start my public ministry does that make sense so back to our story as I told you in one nine hundred ninety seven the Lord put us on the Moses plan he called us to leave our comfortable respectable employment and do something humbler. He called us to farm. Farm Can you believe it. I didn't know anything about farming and let me tell you in one nine hundred ninety seven there was no ad Agra. It felt like agriculture in Adventism was a forgotten relic from the distant past going to my twentieth alumni reunion. Never forget that. You know meeting people you hadn't seen in twenty years. So how are you doing well yeah I'm doing great you know after graduating Winblad Ph D. I went on to work for a multinational company as an executive vice president and you know when what are you doing. Well I'm a farmer Oh that's interesting. I definitely got the picture that people felt I'd gone off the deep in. Buried my talents in the soil. Which I guess I kind of had and thrown my life away it was definitely humbling. And harder boy was it ever harder. Anyone who tells you that farming is for Dummies has never farmed it's one of the most challenging things I've ever done in my life. First I didn't know what I was doing. So knowledge was gained at a very steep price in the School of Hard Knocks. Been to that school too in fact we used to joke that. We did everything the hard way and sometimes it felt like everything we tried ended in failure failure you know and Mark nine thirty five Jesus says that we should be the servant of all. For farmers that all includes the plants in the soil. If you ever tried to serve plants and soil what would you like to eat today she like a little more water. Could I give you a little more. Nutrients there you know and I mean at least the plant you can see so it can kind of communicate a little bit with you the soil is even harder What do you need I can't hear you what do you need. And sometimes you don't hear the response from the soil tell your. It's too late it's very humbling. Because you realize how much you don't know. But what a privilege what a training humbler and harder you know I look back on those early years with a lot of fun this we felt our need of Christ like we had never felt before. And our walk with him was very sweet. And personal I spent a lot of days out in the woods having business meetings with Lord. Asking for wisdom in direction on how to proceed this isn't working what do I do. And although it was humbler and harder. It was also better than we could have ever imagined. You know I've noticed something this through the conference when people share the Siler is this morning Allan devotion. And I have seen with others have you have you noticed that. They tend to get choked up as they share their experience. If this is such a great thing why do we cry have been. Hits. But I guess it's hard to explain unless you've been there how something can be so sweet. But yet you cry. Because it was so hard we're so thankful for what we've been through. And we're just we're just now over halfway through the Moses plan I can't wait to see what the next twenty years old. But I want to make it clear I'm not suggesting that all of you will be called to farming I'm not suggesting that it's going to take you forty years to smooth out all the rough spots in your character some of us are just slow learners. He may put you on the fast track I want you I want you to listen to this I had seen this before but a sister showed it to me again this morning. The Lord can do more in one hour than we can do in a lifetime. And when he sees that his people are. Fully consecrated that's really what we're talking about here this whole humbler harder thing it's to bring us to the point of being fully consecrated. Let me tell you a great work will be done in a short time in the message of truth will be carried into the dark places of the earth where it has never been proclaimed there's hope I know I've heard people say you know I don't think I can ever learn this. You know. There's hope. God can do in one hour what it's taken us twenty years to learn I'm not even suggesting that you have to look for something humbler and harder you know you don't have to go home and say OK honey let's see how we can disrupt our lives and make it really difficult. I promise you you don't have to do that all I'm really encouraging you to do is follow God's convictions on your heart and if you do that. I can almost guarantee that he will call you to something humbler and harder the reason I can guarantee that is because the devil doesn't do that. Right. When when you feel an impression to do something humbler and harder. I'm not sure that comes from the devil I don't know maybe it could but that's not usually the way he works so I'm not going to guarantee but I can almost guarantee that he will call you to something humbler and harder than you've ever done before but if you follow God's convictions I can guarantee that you will say it is better one less quote. The subjects of prints a manual are not called to the enjoyment of ease and honor and riches of titles and possessions. Do we have any subjects of print some manual I'm not seeing many hands. OK yes good so that means you. Are not called to the enjoyment of ease and honor and riches of titles and possessions. What are you called to a life of conflict with the Prince of Darkness. What else are you called to to endure privation hardship imprisonment. Torture. And death and I'm not even halfway there I've just endured a little privation and hardship even as the captain of their salvation endured before them you know we don't have to go this way alone. There's somebody who has already done it. He's followed the path. He lived humbler and harder and better. And so tonight at Agra. I challenge you to behold Jesus. Hanging on the cross for you dying make it you realize they died make it. Talk about humbling He's our example let's pray. Lord I just pray. That I didn't speak any of my own words I pray that I represented you are right. I pray that I'm not preaching false theology. I pray that each of these who have heard will prove all things study for themselves not take my word but make sure that it's your word. Lord I pray that those who are under conviction. Will gain strength from you to move forward. And I pray that as they go through the trials that will come that as they endure hardship privation that you will be so close to them. That they will feel your comforting arms around them. That they will know with confidence that they are in your will and Lord May their lights be a light to all those around them and may it grow. Until the world sees. That there are a group of people. Who are willing to serve. Without Honor. Without remuneration. Without. Any of the things that the world expects. But the they're willing to serve out of love love for the People love for you. So Lord we commend ourselves to you knowing that none of this is possible without your strength. Without your. Without your guidance. Bless us through the hours of the Sabbath three pray. To Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W audio verse or.

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