August 1, 1995
An atheist farmer wrote the following letter to the editor of a local newspaper: “I plowed on Sunday, planted on Sunday, cultivated on Sunday, and hauled in my crops on Sunday, but I never went to church on Sunday. Yet I harvested more bushels per acre than anyone else, even those who are God fearing and never miss a service.”
The editor printed the man’s letter and then added this remark: “God doesn’t always settle His accounts in October.”
An atheist asserts that God does not exist yet sometimes talks more Him than do people who are convinced otherwise. Atheists are seldom found going to kindergarten, in foxholes or beside a dying loved one. Apparently, believing in no-God is not easy.
However, according to Scripture believing in God means far more than acknowledging He exists. James, half-brother of Jesus and writer of a New Testament book, said “So you believe in God? Even the demons believe, and tremble.”
The demons know God is there but their “belief” does not seem to do them much good. While the Bible says we do need to believe He exists, it adds we must also believe that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
God’s rewards are not like those human beings give and receive. For one thing, they are eternal, not every October, yet He often gives a taste right now of what is to come.
For instance, faith in Christ results in peace with God. Sin separates everyone from Him but Jesus died for our sin so that separation could be removed. Believers often experience a wonderful inner peace from God as they live out their Christian lives.
Without faith, inner peace is fleeting at best. Writers H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw both rejected God and placed their trust in their own systems of belief based on human reason. They were brilliant men, yet neither found lasting peace of mind and heart.
Wells’ final literary work, has been called “a scream of despair.” Shortly before Shaw died in 1950, he wrote, “The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt . . . Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, have led directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once . . . In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions . . . And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith.”
For seventy-five years, communist leaders tried that same notion in Russia. Now, after years of physical, social and spiritual decay, they admit they were foolish. Many of them have come to a personal faith in God through Jesus Christ.
It seems to me proving the grand notion of God untrue requires much more effort and faith than believing He is real. While circumstances in the world around us often make us wonder why Lord does not do something, even that question admits He is there.
As for rewards, this page is too small to list them, but if I did, their fullness would be difficult to describe. God reserves that for those who believe. Also, He never uses rewards to prove He is there. Instead, He reveals Himself to His people through the Person of Jesus Christ and the pages of His Word. He invites faith by being consistent with what He has revealed. He is a good, holy, powerful and changeless God.
He also rewards faith. He may not “settle His accounts in October,” but He promises His presence right now, all through an abundant life — a life that reaches into eternity, spent with Him. Then there will be no more sin and evil, sorrow or pain. Only fools would dare suggest bushels per acre is a worthy comparison.