I live in a farming community. I have learned to measure my year by the activity in the fields. Winters are quiet with snow covered fields. You know when spring has come, because the canals fill with water and the tractors are in the fields. The fields require tending throughout all the seasons and stages of growth. In summer, it is green everywhere as the plants are maturing. We begin to look forward to seasons of produce. There is corn season, apple season, potato season, and carrot season. Harvest time comes and everything changes. The level of activity rises markedly everywhere. The harvesters and trucks are in the fields. The roads fill up with trucks carrying crops for storage, packing, or processing. Many people take on a seasonal job. The town fills up with the extra workers needed to harvest the fields. It is a very busy time and is the culmination of months of work planting, watering, weeding, and tending the crops.
John 4:31-38 (ESV)
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
The message of the gospel is hope for many, and repulsive to others. A common roadblock to belief is the theology of the afterlife, with some experiencing eternity with God and others who do not. I do not understand all the truths about heaven and hell, or the new heaven and new earth that is promised. I do however wish for as many as will, to be with me in the presence of God for eternity.
The world is a very large place full of billions of people from a variety of people groups and languages. The book of Revelations tells us that He has purchased people from every tribe, nation, and language. The need for these people to understand and respond to the promise of forgiveness and redemption is enormous. At every step of the way, God has chosen to partner with His people in the process of bringing about the restoration of all things.
Jesus sees the harvest that is ready to reap. This means the seasons of planting, watering, weeding, and growth have been accomplished. The time for harvest has come. Just as we have a significant need for additional labor at harvest, so does the kingdom of god. The difference is that spiritually speaking there is a simultaneous cycle going on. There is planting, watering, weeding, and growing taking place continually. The gospel calls us to enter the workforce. The fields and vast and ready for our labor. Jesus is calling us and equipping us for the work of the kingdom.
The message of the gospel, the acceptance or rejection of the gospel, and the vast numbers of people who have not heard or do not know how to respond presents a dilemma for me. I wish for all to know God, but here I am sitting in my house, watching TV, playing golf, visiting with friends, and going to work. How can I reconcile what I believe with what I do? Will I answer the call? Can I enter into the work of the harvest? It is harvest time currently as I write. There is activity everywhere. Will you join me in entering into the workforce to collect the harvest that is ready and waiting?