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Harvest Time

John 4:35-38
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. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying “One sows and another reaps” is true. 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 labour.’ (NIVUK)

It is very important to do the right thing, but it is vital to do it at the right time.  The time to harvest crops is perhaps the biggest decision a farmer will make.  Too early, and the produce will not be mature, and the yield will be reduced.  Too late, and it may rot or be taken by animals and birds.  Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that His arrival on earth marked the beginning of God's spiritual harvest.  However, they had no sense of urgency, assuming it was enough to teach and do miracles.  But Jesus wanted to teach them that their future role for Him was to reap souls for God’s kingdom, as well as sow the seed of the Word (Luke 10:2; 1 Corinthians 3:7).

Jesus told them to open their eyes!  There, all around them in Samaria, were many people who needed to hear and respond to the gospel.  That included the people of the town of Sychar where they had recently been shopping.  Soon those people would flood out of the town to meet Jesus (John 4:30).  They already knew about God, and some were eager to find Him personally (John 4:39-42).  So, the disciples needed to change their mind-set and expect to find people who God had already prepared to believe in Jesus (like the Samaritan woman and many others in Sychar).  The trainee apostles were about to see that spiritual seed planted by Moses and the prophets was about to ripen into full fruit; and to ignore it would waste God's spiritual harvest.

Wherever we go, God is ripening His harvest of souls.  Many people have heard enough to be drawn to Jesus.  All they need is to know who He is, believe in Him, repent of their sins and be saved (Acts 2:38-41).  But many Christians today do not see it.  Like the trainee apostles, we need to open our eyes and see what God has been doing, preparing people to receive Jesus; and then realise that our task is to encourage them to do so.  

It is important to sow the seed, but it is vital to reap the souls.  Please ask the Lord to change your understanding; and recognise that He wants you to have a part in His harvest.  Ask Him to open your eyes to see the harvest field; and ask Him to stir your heart so that you desire to reap as well as sow.  And do not think that it can all wait until another time: the day of salvation is today (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).

Lord of the harvest. Thank You that as people come to Jesus, they become a part of Your harvest of souls. I am sorry when I have failed to even notice that You are working in many people's lives to give them a desire for Jesus, and that I have ignored my responsibility to introduce them to Him. Please open my eyes to what You are doing all around me; change my heart that I may desire to be one of Your harvest workers and give me a new sense of urgency that Your harvest, in my workplace, community and family, may be gathered in while there is still time. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams