Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reap, Sow, Pluck, Harvest

               I woke up this morning asking a question, “What am I doing?” What am I doing for Christ, was the next question that came through my heart. Not only in regards to the ministry that I am in, but what exactly is my purpose in this life?  As I asked this question, made my coffee, and settled down into my closet time with the Lord, the question was still in the back of my mind. As I was praying, I thought about reaping and sowing, and eternal rewards. All this questioning led me to John 4:27-42.
                Jesus has just finished His conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. She has just left Him to run back to her town and tell everyone about her encounter with the Christ, their long awaited Messiah. The disciples are just returning with food from the other villages around. For no good Jew would ever actually go into Samaria, they avoided it at every cost. The disciples are pleading with Jesus to eat something, for they know He is hungry and thirsty. But Jesus replies in such a way that struck my heart this morning, and I want to share this journey with you all as well.
                “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps,’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” John 4:34-38
                When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, He planted a seed within her. She believed in Him because of the things He spoke to her. The seed that was planted in her heart was then taken to those in her city, and said to the men, “Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (vs. 28) She took her beliefs and told others, which caused them to come to Jesus in a multitude. As Jesus sat there overlooking the fields that led into Samaria, what a joy it must have been for Him to see the townspeople coming towards Him, their hearts pricked by the words this woman spoke.
                There is a harvest, ripe and ready to be picked. Just as the disciples didn’t see what Jesus had planted, they could see the fruit of His words coming towards them. Jon Courson writes, “See with me in your mind’s eye the Samaritan men to whom the woman had witnessed coming toward Jesus, dressed in turbans and robes of white. What harvest was white and ready to reap? To which harvest was Jesus referring? The field of the Samaritans. The same is true today.  The people in our culture who are ignored and forgotten, those no one else wants to be around, those others we pass by are the ones who are ripe for the picking…The real action lies with the Samaritans-the people others aren’t interested in, the people who won’t help our business or gain us a reputation in ministry. Here we see our Lord’s wisdom in gleaning from a field that was already ripe.” (Jon Courson New Testament Commentary)
                As I read the words of my Lord and this commentary, my mind and heart immediately went to the children that I serve each and every week. My question this morning “What am I doing?” was answered in these passages of scripture. I am sowing and reaping into the hearts of the children who need Jesus.  Yes, there are rewards, wages- as Jesus calls them, for bringing others to Christ. But the lesson I learned today was that I may not see those wages, someone else may reap the fruits of my labors, and vice versa. I am given an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ everyday with those who are ripe for the picking, His children. But so many times we get caught up in the day to day mundane that we forget to do what Jesus shows us- sit down and have a conversation with someone. Because He sat down and gave the Samaritan woman a few minutes of His time, look at what happened. Many souls were added to the Kingdom of God.
                My heart is with the children of this world. The ones who do not know Jesus, the ones who are in need, homeless, unloved- that is where my heart is, and today, He showed me the many opportunities I have to bring them into the Kingdom of God, where He longs for them to be. He also took my thoughts to those who nobody pays any attention. What about that homeless guy standing at the stoplight at Wal-Mart? What about him? Instead of giving him money, why not give him a tract about Jesus, or pull over and pray with him? We wait for outreaches and church functions to preach and to evangelize, but what about today? Today there is someone who needs Jesus, whether they are 5 years old, 15 years old, or 50 years old- we all desire and seek the same thing- a Savior, Jesus Christ.
                My purpose and heart’s desire on this earth, for the time that the Lord sees fit for me to be here, is to sow and reap for His Kingdom. Not for the church, not for my pastor, not so that others can see how grand I am, but to plant and to water, and let God do the work He desires to do. There is a harvest waiting for us, a plentiful bounty of fruit towards the eternal Kingdom of God. Find the unlovable today, the ignored ones, the child that needs a hug, the mother that needs prayer, the homeless man on the side of the street- reach out to them and give them Jesus. Just like Peter and John in the book of Acts, when they healed the lame man. They replied to him who sought their help, “Silver and gold have I none, but what I do have I give to you. Rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 3:6) Imagine what our world could be if we would just reach out and pluck one ear from the harvest.
                Because of one Samaritan woman having a conversation with Jesus, the town was saved. John tells us that “many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” (John 4:39) We will reap and receive the eternal rewards that God has set aside for us, if we would just take a moment to lift up our eyes and look out over the hills that are ripe and ready for the harvest.
                Father God, open our eyes to see the harvest that you have prepared for us. Give us wisdom and boldness to proclaim to the lost, the unloved, and the unwanted the glorious gospel of Your grace. May we, as your disciples, not close our hearts but take the harvest in our hands and bring back the fruits to eternal life in Your kingdom. In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen and Amen.