“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. (John 4:34-36)
I’m a big fan of Autumn. I love the change in the weather and the gorgeous fall colors, but as a ‘city-girl,’ I am still amazed at the bounty the farms provide. There is something just so magical about planting a seed in dirt and then, weeks and months (or years in the case of trees) later harvesting full-grown vegetables, nuts and fruit. All of it seems so pleasing: the taste, the shapes, the colors, the smells. What an amazing variety of nuts, fruits, vegetables and grains there is too. All with their own unique nutritional profiles as well. Not to mention the bounty of berries, seeds, nuts and grains that only the animals eat. God is good!
Every year I hunt for ‘harvest’ verses in the Bible to illustrate. If you try that you will immediately notice another kind of harvest that occupies God’s heart: the human harvest of souls. Like our agricultural produce, humans come in all shapes, sizes and colors with unique personality profiles. But don’t be fooled, we are all alike in one important way: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. And like our fruity counterparts, one day, sooner or later, the harvest is coming.
“…His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12)
We want to be harvesters reaping a crop for eternal life. The New Life Translation puts it this way: The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!
God gives us an abundant wage of blessings, but His will for us is to produce a harvest of souls brought to eternal life. As a ‘planter’ who shares the Good News, or a ‘harvester’ who is finally able to lead someone to a decision to follow Jesus, joy awaits. This is what we were made for!
So, enjoy this harvest time. As Jesus’ Second Coming draws near, prepare yourself to be alert and listen and watch for signs that friends, family or perfect strangers are ripe for the harvest. If not yet, plant a seed, or nurture the seed already planted so someone else can harvest it later. As a stubborn seed that took some 20 years to harvest, I can tell you, they’ll be grateful to be on that eternal farm stand.