Randy and I live in a small city in the Midwest. It is only a short drive to see hundreds of acres of land brimming with corn, beans and wheat. Only yesterday, we remarked how healthy and green the beans are right now. Rain was provided at the right time this year. It looks like a “bumper crop” is in store for the hard-working farmers. We also know from having small vegetable gardens in our past that tilling the ground, planting, waiting for rain, protecting the crop from insects and fertilizing for greater yield is only part of the process. In a few months, the harvest will be ready. The work of preparation and growing will end in the harvest that will sustain their living. Through the winter months, true farmers dream of when they can begin the process again.
When it is harvest time, farmers know and prepare. It is all hands on deck! Many farmers help each other pull in the harvest. Some hire others to help during harvest season only. Some rent the equipment necessary to harvest quickly and efficiently until they can afford to own the equipment. Farming is big business. Harvest is the reward for the hard work from sun up to sundown.
Jesus uses this agrarian analogy to teach the disciples how to “harvest” people who are being prepared by God to receive salvation and grow in relationship with God. God prepares hearts to make a decision about loving Him. God rains down many opportunities for people to hear Truth. I’m taken in by what Jesus tells his disciples about the Samaritan “fields” that they are walking through on their way to Galilee. These Jewish men normally would not have given the people of Samaria even a glance. Samaritans were deemed “unclean” people. Samaritans didn’t have much love for the Jews, either. But Jesus changes the “field of play”, changing their way of thinking. Jesus is always the gamechanger!
Read and pause to think about what Jesus is saying to his crew:
- “I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started.” It was and always will be the work of God that we are invited to be a part. His work. His will. His harvest.
- “I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you.” Opportunities to join God in His work to reconcile all people to Him is just beyond our doorstep, in our community, where we do business and shop for supplies to sustain us each day/week/month. God, open our eyes to the harvest you have prepared for your Kingdom!
- “These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!” God may lead us to whom we least expect. Believing friends, we need to always ask God who, where, what to say, and when to say it with the guidance of His Holy Spirit. Jesus left his disciples (and us) His Holy Spirit sent from God to help us do His work of harvest. God sends us, opens our eyes wider still, and equips our willing, flexible, pliable hearts, minds and souls for His harvest work. Our part is to be teachable, laying down our will for His will, just do what He says.
- “Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others.” It is no coincidence that Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman of bad reputation in the village nearby along with her own hopelessness to meet Jesus, talk with Him and be filled to the brim with His Truth at Joseph’s well. Jesus, sent from God, changed her attitude, her life and consequently her behavior. He let her know He was indeed the Messiah who knew her well.
One Woman. One Testimony changes everything.
From her witness, many believed! One woman meets Truth and becomes a harvester with the God of Hope all because of Jesus. Her community was changed because of her blessed transformation. And the village response?
“We’ve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He’s the Savior of the world!”
John 4:31-42, MSG
It’s Harvest Time
31 In the meantime, the disciples pressed him, “Rabbi, eat. Aren’t you going to eat?”
32 He told them, “I have food to eat you know nothing about.”
33 The disciples were puzzled. “Who could have brought him food?”
34-35 Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!
36-38 “The Harvester isn’t waiting. He’s taking his pay, gathering in this grain that’s ripe for eternal life. Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant. That’s the truth of the saying, ‘This one sows, that one harvests.’ I sent you to harvest a field you never worked. Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others.”
39-42 Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him because of the woman’s witness: “He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!” They asked him to stay on, so Jesus stayed two days. A lot more people entrusted their lives to him when they heard what he had to say. They said to the woman, “We’re no longer taking this on your say-so. We’ve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He’s the Savior of the world!”
What is my testimony?
How has my life changed, transformed because of knowing Jesus?
Who do I tell? Ask God.
Lord and Savior,
You are indeed the Savior of the world. You have transformed my life and you are still changing my way of thinking which results in changing the way I live, respond and behave. Show me the field you want me to go. I trust you will equip me to do what you want when you want it so others will find and follow you, too. Thank you, Lord, for the honor and privilege to be invited to Your Harvest Work, in Your Name, for Your glory.
In Jesus Name, Amen