John 4:35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receiving wages and is 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.”
Jesus had been talking with the woman at the well and now she had gone off into town to tell people what she had learned from him. The disciples had been out looking for food and when they returned they had this conversation with Jesus. Obviously they were all working together in his ministry but they had no idea about the encounter which had just taken place with the Samaritan woman. In just a few moments people would be streaming from the town and out to the well to hear Jesus tell the story in his own words. Both physically and metaphorically Jesus was telling the disciples to look up and see the harvest. The harvest would literally soon be walking toward them.
The harvest was going to come from an unusual source. The disciples probably had their own ideas of a “normal” harvest and I’m sure it didn’t include the Samaritans! The seeds were certainly not planted by the disciples for they didn’t really like the Samaritans. Now, Jesus was telling them to look up and see that there was a harvest coming right toward them that was ready to harvest.
They were simply to realize that when God was involved, things would and could happen in a supernatural way. No single person could claim the credit for the harvest for this was God’s doing when his people were obedient and followed his lead.
They were to lift up their eyes — their thoughts and their insights, for God was at work!
I hear a lot of folks bemoaning the fact that Christianity is in decline these days — at least, seemingly so — in the US. But could it be that we are simply expecting a particular type of harvest and are refusing to see what God is already preparing? What I think I hear people bemoaning is that the Anglo church in America isn’t growing. There are a number of reasons for this but one single fact is demographics. The shift in the United States population is happening at a rapid rate and it’s time that we looked up and noticed what was happening. Society looks different than it did fifty years ago — and so should the church!
Jesus took the disciples into a place that they didn’t consider worthy of being harvested! What an attitude. Surely we wouldn’t have this attitude, would we? Are we waiting four months for just the “right” harvest field? Jesus says, “look up!” Look up! Get your heads out of your own world and culture and see what is happening to the kingdom right in front of you. There is a harvest field — it just may not look like what you thought.
Just a few weeks ago a man walked off a cliff in southern California while looking at his smart phone. He died because he didn’t look up. Church — we may just die if we don’t look up and see the ways in which God is at work in our world.
Lord, please help me to look up and open my eyes to your harvest. Amen.
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