May 25, 2007

Ripe for Harvest!

John 4:4-14, 31-35

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


Reaching people for the Lord is easier said than done. Some of us attend a Christian school where everyone else professes to be a Christian. Some of us live in communities where almost everybody attends church on Sundays. Many of us have only Christian friends and do not associate much with unbelievers. Besides, we figure most unbelievers aren't interested in Jesus.

But the Lord refuses to let us off the hook. In John 4:35 he insists that the fields are ripe for harvest--not only in his day but also today. We have to pray for open eyes to see opportunities for witnessing, and we need to pray for courage to make the most of those opportunities. The story recorded in John 4 shows us that sometimes the most unlikely person in the most unexpected place can become a part of God's harvest.

We must rededicate ourselves to the task of helping our churches--and ourselves--become what someone has called "redemptive centers" for the Lord. And we must follow Jesus' example. We must meet unbelievers where they are and accept them as they are. We need to learn to reach out to unbelievers without condoning a sinful lifestyle, and we have to believe that the most unlikely person may well have been placed on our path by the Lord. Ask God today for the opportunity to offer the water of life to someone who is thirsty.

Lord, some of us have missed many opportunities to offer the water of life in your name. Please open our eyes to see such opportunities, and help us to reach out. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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