October 17, 2016

Ripe for Harvest

John 4:34-41

Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

—  John 4:35

At harvesttime, a farmer’s entire focus is on getting the crop in from the fields. Ripe produce will spoil if left in the fields too long. Weather or pests can damage yields. So a careful farmer will work long hours in harvest season to ensure that the entire crop is safely gathered in. No responsible farmer would want to ignore the signs of harvest.

Jesus challenged his followers to be similarly aware of the spiritual harvest around them. Though the Samaritans, traditional rivals of the Jews, might have seemed to be spiritually unproductive, God was doing a great work in them, and many of them became believers.

Perhaps you are discouraged because a family member refuses to listen to the message of Christ. Or you look at the world around you and see a culture hostile to the gospel. It may seem that people who ­oppose God are gaining the ­upper hand. Jesus reminds us that God often does unexpected work right under our noses. Like a hardworking farmer, we must remain diligent and focus on the spiritual harvest God has set before us.

But this hard work does not mean drudgery in Christ’s service. Jesus points to the joy of the sower and the reaper to remind us of the excitement of dealing with matters of eternal consequence. In your conversations this week, ask God to show you his intended harvest.

Open my eyes, Lord, so that I can see where you are at work. Prepare me for the work of harvesting what your Spirit has sown, and give me joy in serving you. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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