"Diggin' a Ditch in Jesus' Name!" Base Text: 2 Kings 3-4 Read: Romans 5:3-4 "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:" Introduction: Wallace Johnson, builder of numerous Holiday Inn motels and convalescent hospitals said, "When I was forty years old, I worked in a sawmill. One morning the boss told me, 'Your fired!' Depressed and discouraged, I felt like the world had caved in on me. It was during the depression, and my wife and I greatly needed the small wages I had been earning. "When I went home, I told my wife what had happened. She asked, "What are you going to do now?" "I replied, 'I'm going to mortgage our little home, and go into the building business.' "My first venture was the construction of two small buildings. Within five years, I was a multi-millionaire!" "Today, if I could locate the man who fired me. I would sincerely thank him for what he did. At the time it happened, I didn't understand why I was fired. Later, I saw that it was God's unerring and wondrous plan to get me into the way of His choosing!" Often in the middle of difficulties and trials we often loose sight of Romans 8:28 and the working out of God's goodness. Many times we grumble and complain instead of obey and gain. Our faith in God and His Word will make the difference in how we get along in this life. I believe that great blessings from God are just around the corner. I've been there for sure and I know what I'm talking about. You can miss them though. Often our flesh and the world fool us into thinking that there is no blessing coming. Well, there is, just, Theme: Get Ready to be Blessed: I. When the work seems useless and a waste of time! 2 Kings 3:16-20 "And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. 17 For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. 18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. 19 And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones. 20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water." Illustration: A young man accepted as an African Missionary reported to New York for "passage" but soon found that his wife could not tolerate the climate physically. Brokenhearted he returned home. His father was a dentist and he felt no use in becoming a dentist. His father had started a small business on the side making a unfermented wine for use in the Lord's Supper. He began to dabble in this business until he finally took it over. What a waste of time he must have thought as he worked at making grape juice. The business took off and prospered and the man whose last name still is on his families product gave millions to missions around the world. Welch's Grape Juice. A. Nothing done by direction of God is ever useless in God's plan, nothing! B. No time is a waste of time if it is directed and orchestrated by God's Word. Transition: Get ready to be blessed when your work in the Lord seems begrudgingly a waste of time. When things done seem useless in purpose get ready to be blessed! Theme: Get Ready to be Blessed: I. When the work seems useless and a waste of time! II. When the preparation seems senseless! 2 Kings 4:1-7 "Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. 2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. 3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. 5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. 6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest." Illustration: Robert Moffatt, Scottish missionary to Africa, came back to recruit young men for the field. He was greeted by the fury of a cold British winter. Arriving at the church where he was to speak he noted only a small group had braved the elements to hear his appeal. What disturbed him even more was that he had prepared his sermon on Proverbs 8:4, "Unto you, O men, I call," and only ladies had shown up. I'm sure that Dr. Moffatt felt like his preparation senseless in light of the fact that few women could be expected to undergo the rigorous experiences of the African Mission field. But God thought not the preparation senseless. A boy in the organ loft that was pumping the organ out of sight was thrilled and challenged by the message. Deciding to follow in the footsteps of the veteran missionary, he went to school, became a doctor, and spent the rest of his life ministering to the unreached tribes of Africa. His name: David Livingstone! A. Conducting ourselves as Christians, staying true to the word of God and working diligently for him is not senseless. To a lost world it is a terrible waste of time and effort butt the a Christian it is divine stewardship. B. When you have done all that God has commanded you to do to prepare, stand ready for a blessing! Note: The most exciting times in my life are the ones in which I could nothing else in the face of calamity except trust in God. Transition: Get ready for a blessing when the preparation seems senseless and you tire of your work. Hang on the blessing is about to be bestowed. Theme: Get Ready to be Blessed: I. When the work seems useless and a waste of time! II. When the preparation seems senseless! III. When the direction seems to go no where! Genesis 12:1-4 "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." Hebrews 11:8 "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." Illustration: It is said that Sir Thomas Huxley was once on his way to a meeting of some importance and had arrived late at the station. Hurriedly he jumped into a jaunting car, and told the coachman to "Drive fast!" Away went the cab, jolting over the streets. At length Huxley inquired of the driver. "Do you know where you are going?" He answered with a grin. "No, I don't know where I'm going, but I'm driving very fast." Christians today, as a whole, seem to be not so much concerned about their direction as they are about how fast they can get there. A. Direction must come from God. Our forcing God's direction on our lives will only serve to ruin us. B. We must proceed with faith and trust that God will not let us enter into doors he has not opened. Transition: Though our direction is not clearly visible to us, if God has led, we can step out on faith and expect the blessings of God to be upon us forthwith. Theme: Get Ready to be Blessed: I. When the work seems useless and a waste of time! II. When the preparation seems senseless! III. When the direction seems to go no where! Conclusion: Get ready to be blessed when your work in the Lord seems begrudgingly a waste of time. When things done seem useless in purpose get ready to be blessed! Get ready for a blessing when the preparation seems senseless and you tire of your work. Hang on the blessing is about to be bestowed. Though our direction is not clearly visible to us, if God has led, we can step out on faith and expect the blessings of God to be upon us forthwith. When things go wrong as they sometimes will When the road you're trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low, and the debts are high And you want to smile, but you have to sigh When care is pressing you down a bit Rest if you must, but don't you quit! Success is failure turned inside out, The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close your are, It may be near when it seems afar, So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit - It's when things go wrong that you must not quit!