READY FOR HARVEST
Terry R. Baughman
“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35 NIV).
Those who are involved in agriculture anxiously anticipate the season of harvest. So many variables affect the outcome of the season. The cooperation of weather is crucial for a successful growing season. Water is essential, but if there is two much rain the crops will be washed out or rot in the field. Sun and warmth are needed for growth. Unexpected cold or unusual heat will affect growth. Natural elements have much to do with the outcome of the harvest.
Jesus spoke about those who could observe and interpret the signs of nature that signal developing weather changes, but He condemned their inability to observe spiritual trends, “You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3).
The season of harvest comes predictably, but the success of harvest is dependent upon those who come into the field at the appropriate time. From Creation the power of reproduction is inherent in the seed. God declared the continuation of the seasons of harvest following the devastation of the flood. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).
As certain as the seasons and harvest there is an assurance of spiritual increase and opportunity for evangelism. We must be prepared to enter the harvest when it comes to fruition. We may be tempted, as were the disciples, to rely on past experience and the usual return of the harvest season to await the perfect moment for reaping. Jesus corrected the faulty thinking of His followers, “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’?” (John 4:35). He then challenged them to look at the field, a harvest already prepared before them. The principle of harvest is to reap when it is ready, “When the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:29).
The problem with procrastination is the deception of delay. If we do not harvest when the moment is right and the reaping is ready we will miss the opportunity for an abundant ingathering. We live our lives waiting for the right moment, the optimal opportunity, when we expect that all of our dreams will be fulfilled in the moment and success will be assured. Harvest is not a one time event or a windfall of unexpected blessing. We are not a servant to the seasons. It is the continual preparation and purposeful participation in the process that brings about an exponential return on eternal investments.
The harvest is coming, but it is also here. Now is the time and today is our greatest opportunity. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t delay. Our eminent opportunity is in the present. While we may await signs of spiritual renewal, the promise is present. Paul said, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Today is our day!
NOW is harvest!
“Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35 NIV).