The Home and the Harvest
The calloused hands of a hard working man firmly grip a rough-hewn beam. Leathered by time, the man’s hands present a single portrait of the battle he has had with the ground for the vast majority of his entire life. He is a farmer, and his life’s work has been to break unyielding soil, to feed his family. With the harvest comes the need to plan for the future. Soon, the winter’s gale will sweep down the mountains, and the surrendered soil will once again grow hard and inhospitable. The man and his family will be forced to live on what he was able to bare during the fruitful season. It is with this reality in mind; the man sets to construct a modest structure to contain the harvest — a barn. The man knows that the heat of his animals will help to warm most of the areas that his family will venture to, and he also knows how important his harvest is to his family, so the man builds the barn as an outcropping from the family home. Soon the framework is given a facade and the modest family home as an adjoining doppelgänger. Though they are not identical, they each complement the other in perfect unison
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In Germany, and most of Europe at that, it was traditionally commonplace for the family home and family barn to be built together in a single or conjoining structure. There were many reasons for this, but the historicity and logic behind the 18th and 19th-century house barn extends beyond the scope of the article. What is important is that the family understood the importance that the barn meant to their livelihood, and so despite the smell or the lack of appeal, the barn was placed in the home.
In Genesis 6, we read the account of God telling Noah to construct a floating barn of sorts that is going to be used to sustain him, his family, and a plethora of animals through the coming storm. When we look at the design of the ark, we find that Noah and his family were never really able to escape the purpose of their vessel. Sure, there were living arraignments, and I’m certain that Noah’s wife made the rooms as homey as possible. Despite her decorating skills, no matter how many pictures she hung, they could not escape the bellow of elephants, the stench of pigs, and the reality that their home had become a vessel for something bigger than them.
In Acts 16, we read the account of a wealthy businesses woman from Thyatira who hears the preaching of Paul is a baptized. Lydia is passionate about the Gospel that is being preached by the Apostles, and opens up her home for meetings. Acts 16:40 notes that when Paul and Silas were freed from prison, the first place they go is the house of Lydia. The home of Lydia had become a headquarters for the early church in Philippi. Most Biblical scholars agree that her home was the central meeting place of the early beginnings of the church at Philippi.
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As I bring this short post to some form of a close, my general point is that your home matters. It was the home of Noah that became a vessel of life; the home of Lydia became a meeting place of the Early Church. In World War II Germany, homes were used to hide away Jews. In the Jim Crow South of the Civil War, homes were used to hide away escaped slaves. The Azusa Street revival that sparked the rise of the modern Pentecostal movement stemmed from a home prayer meeting. In fact, there are only a few accounts in the Gospels of Jesus going to the synagogue, but there are a plethora of him going to private homes: Peter’s house (Matthew 8:14), the home of the wedding feast (John 2), Matthew’s house (Matthew 9:10), Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50), the home of Jarius (Mark 5:21-43), a home in Tyre and Sidon (Mark 7:24), the home of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42), he was the gust of an unnamed Pharisee (Luke 11:37-52), the house of the Ruler of the Pharisees (Luke 14:1-24), the home of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), a home in Bethany (John 12:1-8), the upper room in Jerusalem (Mk. 14:12-25), the house of Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57-27:1), the house of Pilate (John 18:28-38), the house of Herod Antipas (Luke 23:6-12)… and this is not an exhaustive list. So, the fact remains that Jesus went to a lot of homes. Jesus was not interested in formal religiosity, but personal relationship. He did not wait for sinners to flock to the synagogue, but met sinner and follower alike in the comfort of their private homes. What about your home today? Are the doors of your home open to a move of the Holy Ghost?
It is not my intention to belabor the point, but the fact remains that the home is a vital element in the work of God. We call the church the House of God, but what about our private homes? Throughout history, homes have been used to save both lives and souls. So, how might we better use our homes to serve the Lord? Maybe a small, home prayer meeting? Home Bible study? A dinner? Opening your home up to someone in need? There’s a harvest in your home!