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Harvest Time

by Jason Williams, Pastor in Bay Roberts and Conception Bay South

 

At the time of this writing, the sights, sounds and smells of harvest season are all about us. It wasn’t until recent years that our family had ventured our hands to any level of gardening for food. Though we are generally without “green thumbs”, we still decided to press forward in the work of a home garden. Some years ago, we started out with our little pots and soil and seeds. However, today we have expanded our labours to a growing back yard garden. After seed planting, it wasn’t long until little seedlings were sprouting. Over the growing season, as time progressed, some plants displayed a high level of promise, while others were lagging behind. Yet, all summer long, after the time and energy investment we maintained a hope that something would be reaped at harvest time.  We’ve prayed a little prayer, “Lord, let something grow from these simple efforts in our garden.”

Well, the harvest time has come and almost concluded again now. We have put forth our hands, and plucked off ripe, red tomatoes, picked green zucchinis, and enjoyed bright orange carrots, plump green peas and beans, and fresh basil. Some of those things quickly made it into the salads and meals of our family table.

All over the country, farmers have cast their eyes upon their fields and have seen that the time to harvest had come. The view of the earthly fields and crops help us to understand a spiritual concept that the prophet Joel presented:

“Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow…” (Joel 3:13).

The focal point of the prophet’s message was that the ripe harvest represented people. Choices had been made, decisions affirmed and confirmed. Some, in heart and life, had ripened to be fully committed to God and His cause. The time of harvest time is come.

Jesus, as well, echoed a similar thought during His teaching ministry: “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).

In another place, adding an additional concept, Jesus said: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37).

As Jesus looked out across the harvest fields of earth - the masses of people, the populations of cities and towns, regions and nations - He saw people ready to be “harvested” into His kingdom. The work of God’s Spirit, in sending special showers of blessings from heaven upon them had accomplished what God desired it to accomplish, and lives had been changed, hearts converted. Men and women were ready to accept the Gospel call and enter into fellowship among God’s people - the Church. The harvest that Jesus saw then, was a taste of what would come. That localized view symbolized the global situation at the end of time. If the fields were ready to harvest then, here and now today, they certainly are as well.

Here in the Avalon region over the last couple of months, we have been actively engaging in the work of evangelism, preparing for a harvest. We have seen how men and women from our communities have been seeking Jesus by faith, seeking a clearer understanding of Bible truth, and seeking fellowship among God’s people. At the time of this writing, the work is far from finished, but already there are signs of a harvest to come; already there are signs of fruit from the labor.  We must continue to pray and work, and work and pray as we continue onward.

Jesus encouraged His disciples to pray for something specific:  “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

That prayer - that workers be sent to work the fields - is one that applies to each and every child of God. Our prayer should be that God would raise up men, women, boys and girls to be powerful witnesses of His grace in this time of the harvest of earth.  Of course, we would not expect to simply pray and wait for God to do it all around us while we remain without a role. That prayer of heart truly is: “God, please send forth laborers to do your service, and feel free to start with me.”

Don’t worry how He will do it, but present a willing heart and mind to Him. His grace is sufficient and able to complete the task.

“Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work.”  (God’s Amazing Grace, p. 220)

Tell Jesus that you are willing to answer His harvest time prayer by being willing to go and be one of those labourers today. Tell Him that you are willing to be powered by divine grace and enter the fields of labor. Go forward, praying the harvest time prayer.
 
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2017