I recently drove through Eyre Peninsula in South Australia to see hundreds of large fields of wheat and barley growing with vigour. The canola fields were flowering and looked amazing and I was reminded again that we can prepare the soil, we can plant the seed, but the LORD gives the growth – the rain, sun, warmth and nutrients which enable the growth. I thought, ‘in 4 months there will be a harvest that feeds so many…’
As I reflected on this I remembered again that God tells us don’t wait 4 months to think about harvesting, but “…open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35b) NOW! Having rural family members I know that the time between sowing and harvesting is when farmers takes a well earnt rest and usually take a break. But Jesus is saying, sow and get yourself ready to reap!
Earlier in the same chapter (John 4:13-14) Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well and said “Everyone who drinks this [well] water will be thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life.” That was quite the promise in their desert landscape, so she raced off to let others know about Jesus and many in the village came to Jesus to find out more. The harvest of people coming to faith began immediately.
If we are going to wait for the perfect time to commence the ministries God is calling us to, we may miss the harvest opportunity altogether! The scene in Samaria finishes – “Many more people became believers because of the things he [Jesus] said. The people said to the woman, “First we believed in Jesus because of what you told us. But now we believe because we heard him ourselves. We know now that he really is the one who will save the world.” (John 4:41-42)
This is the same Jesus we serve today. He does not change and He will enable His harvest to be brought in if we are obedient to His call. Jesus tells His disciples, to “open your eyes” so you can see people and their circumstances, and seize every opportunity to bring the hope, love and life that Jesus Christ offers them in their situation.
Many people today are living in a parched desert landscape mentally, socially, physically and spiritually. They are thirsting for connection, for ‘living water’ and a ‘wellspring of life’ within them. Christians have good news for the many hopeless in our world and we need to be alert and ready to reap God’s harvest before the opportunities pass.
We must let others experience God’s love in our caring faith communities, sharing our inspiring and life-giving stories of faith, hope, healing and health, whenever the occasion arises. Are you willing to look carefully at the harvest field God has placed you in and really see where the LORD of the harvest wants you to reap the harvest for Him?
Dr Anne van Loon, Chairperson AFCNA