READY FOR HARVEST
Terry R. Baughman
“I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor” (John 4:38 NIV).
Look. Open your eyes. Sometimes the obvious is right before us and we fail to see it. Jesus spoke about those who, “seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). It was a condition predicted by the prophet Isaiah, “Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive” (Isaiah 6:9). The condition of the unbelieving is predictable and blindness prevents revelation and understanding.
When Jesus spoke in parables it was because of the hardness of the hearts in those who refused His teaching and resisted His message. When disciples asked for understanding, He freely shared insights into the meaning of the parables. It was to the same disciples that Jesus invited them to, “Open your eyes and look at the fields!” (John 4:35 NIV). He was willing to show them things others were unable to see. He shared His purpose, His mission, and His plan with those who would embrace the truth and act on His promises. The opportunity was given to believing followers.
Today, the same opportunities are before those who place their faith in Jesus. He has the same mission and His purpose has not changed. Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). His challenge has not changed. He is still proclaiming, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35).
Jesus left a prayer request for the church when He said, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2). He would not expect us to do the impossible; neither will He ask us to pray contrary to His purpose. The commission is still, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The command is within our grasp, the mission within our reach. This is our day and the door of opportunity swings wide. Lord, help us to open our eyes to the open door!
It is not our calling in the final hour to plow the fields. In many cases there is no need to plant the seed or till and water the soil. The harvest is ready. Someone else has gone before us and performed the laborious task of plowing, planting, and preparation. The seed has been sown for generations and countless others have labored in the fields. Today it is harvest time. The fields are ripe and ready. The day is drawing late and there remains much work to be done. Get into the fields for the reaping. Go into the marketplace and solicit more labors. Pay whatever is necessary to get others into the harvest. It is time for the great and final ingathering.
Jesus told the disciples, “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor” (John 4:38 NIV). That same opportunity is before the believers in this generation. A lot of gospel has been preached. The Word of God has been published throughout the world. Now is our opportunity for ingathering.
In John’s vision Jesus spoke to the church at Philadelphia, “I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Revelation 3:8). May we hear the voice of the Lord today, see the open door, and seize the opportunities given us.
“Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35 NIV).