Hebrews 6: 7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
Recently, our pastor was out of town and we hosted a guest pastor at my church who ruffled some feathers. He's a great guy and I really like him, but his doctrine is not completely in line with what I personally hold to be true. It's challenging to know how to respond in a situation like this. I love this man and have no desire to hurt his feelings, but there's a real concern about how his teaching might negatively affect vulnerable people.
I was struggling with the situation internally. I have a deep respect for the leadership within the church and I treat leaders with a great deal of reverence. I'm not comfortable questioning my pastor and I'd never take it upon myself to offer correction to him. I spoke with a few trusted friends who share my respect for leadership and we spent some time praying together. Our hearts' cry was that God would grow the seeds of truth in the message and choke out the negative. Overall, we agreed the unity was the most important goal so we vowed to watch our conversation in regard to this situation.
As I sought the Lord in my personal study time, I felt strongly that He had a word for me in Hebrews 6. I read the entire passage and I'll admit that I initially glazed right over verses 7 and 8. I glanced at my notes and knew I was missing something, so I read through a second time. As I read verses 7 and 8 again, I paused and started to dig for meaning. Within a short time, I received a revelation that changed everything for me.
7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;
The rain is the word of God. When we study, listen to preaching, and pray, we are receiving the rain. When we receive the rain, we are expected to bear good things which will nourish not only ourselves, but, more importantly, the Body of Christ. If we do this, we will receive the blessing of God!
8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
Verse 8 is sobering and comes with a strong warning. If we receive the rain and then bear thorns and briars, we will be rejected and come near to being cursed. Thorns and briars are things that cause division and work against unity in the Body of Christ. Instead of nourishing, they cause injury. If we hear the word and then start to complain to each other, point out faults and talk negatively, we are allowing thorns and briars to form.
This is what really impacted me: It's the same rain, the same soil, and yet different results. In other words, we can sit in church together and hear the same message and then have individual results. It really doesn't matter if the guest pastor had some skewed theology, what matters is the results produced in my life. I refuse to allow thorns and briars to form. I am desperately seeking the blessing of God which means my goal is produce good things that will nourish the Body.
I'm excited to share this with other members of my church who were challenged by our guest speaker. I hope it blessed you as well.