September 3, 2005

A Harvest Mindset

Scripture Reading — John 4:27-42

27Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?" 28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." 32But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." 33Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" 34"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38I 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." 39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers. 42They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." — 

"I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." John 4:35

In most areas of our country where fields were seeded in the spring, crops are ready for harvest. Farmers plan for a whole year to bring in the harvest. They prepare the machinery during winter, plant seed in the spring, and cultivate and irrigate, if necessary, in the summer. It's a busy time, but it's all for one purpose: to bring in a bountiful harvest. When the crops are ready, all other work on the farm that could be done is not nearly as important as getting the harvest in. It's the number-one priority.

Jesus often used that picture to describe the urgency and importance of helping to bring believers into God's kingdom. By starting with a casual conversation at a well and recognizing a truly deep need, Jesus brought living water into the life of a Samaritan woman. And because of the responses of the woman and of many others from her town, Jesus stayed two days, and "many more became believers."

The disciples needed to have their vision corrected. They thought they had lots of time to look for the harvest. But this wasn't just something to do when they "got around to it." The Bible is clear about the importance of the mission and our involvement in it. In your work, at school, or in your neighborhood, where do you see the harvest? What will you do? When will you start?


Father, forgive us when we lose sight of the harvest. Forgive us for having misguided priorities. Give us courage today to walk through doors you will open for us. Amen.


Devotion topics: Life, Christian Life, Missions