A Vision of the Harvest
By Sherman Nobles
CBN.com -- I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, worshiping God when I received a vision. It was as if I was in the sky, looking over America. As I looked, I could see all of the continents of the world. Each continent was covered with wheat, ready for harvest.
I focused in on Africa. Laborers were busy harvesting the wheat. I noticed one in particular. He had a very large scythe and was swinging it with all his might, working feverishly to bring in the harvest. The wheat was flying everywhere. I could feel the awful dread, the anxiousness of his heart as he thought of the coming storm. He knew the wheat would be destroyed if it weren't harvested soon. Occasionally he would stop and take a deep breath, wipe the sweat from his forehead, look toward America and yell with all his strength. "HELP! Someone, Please HELP!" Then he picked us his scythe and began swinging it again.
Looking at America, I noticed a few different groups of laborers. One group was standing together, totally consumed by an argument they were engaged in. They had completely forgotten the harvest.
I then saw other laborers who had gathered wheat into bundles with their arms. They were doing all they could to just hold the bundles together. Occasionally one would notice a harvested stalk of grain that wasn't in a bundle. Being careful not to let his bundle fall apart, he would cautiously pick up the stalk and add it to his bundle. There were many like this. Their efforts were consumed with just holding the bundle together. They would do their best to not compare their bundle with other bundles, but some times they couldn't help but look with envy at the larger bundles.
They too had forgotten the harvest.
I believe the message of this vision is very timely for today's church, especially in America.
First of all we need to open our eyes and recognize that people all over the world -- including America -- are ready to receive Jesus. By-in-large the church of America has believed a lie! The lie is that the majority of non-Christian Americans have heard the Gospel, rejected it, and are now hardened against it. But the truth is that most people need to clearly hear the Gospel several times before they receive Christ.
Who of us accepted the Gospel the first time we heard it? Not many, I would dare to say.
We must also remember that God is continually at work in the lives of people. He's speaking to them through nature, their circumstances and other people. He's arranging things to happen in their lives that will bring them to a place of receptivity. We, as Christians, need to always be ready to share the Gospel. We never know when God is at work in the heart of a person.
Another lesson the vision illustrates is the importance of not allowing our time and resources to be wasted by arguing with other believers. Doctrine is important, but arguing about doctrine is rarely, if ever, beneficial. It is one thing to respectfully discuss differing understandings of scripture with the purpose of encouraging one another. It is totally another thing to get caught in the trap of trying to prove your own view is right and the opposing view is wrong.
Knowledge has the tendency to puff us up, but love always edifies.
Unfortunately, as in the vision, far too many churches, pastors in particular, spend all of their time and money just trying to hold the church together. They've become keepers of the aquarium rather than fishers of men. A significant lesson can be learned from the relatively few churches that are consistently growing via conversions. They regularly allocate a minimum of 10% of their resources in money and manpower to reaching the lost. Some of the fastest growing churches allocate 30% or more of their budget to evangelism.
In the comfort and business of our American lives, it's far too easy to forget the great commission, to "go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mark 16:15 NIV). We must become more active in communicating the Gospel, both personally and corporately.
If you are a pastor or leader in a local congregation, I hope this short teaching has challenged you to examine your church's allocation of money and staff. If you are not putting at least 10% towards local evangelism, then I ask you to prayerfully consider doing so. In the name of Jesus, I respectfully say, "repent." Repent and embrace the passion of the Lord for the lost.
If you will allow your heart to be filled with this passion I believe you will see that 10% will not be enough!
What do you think? Send Sherman your e-mail response.
Related article by Sherman Nobles:
Share Jesus Without Fear
More Evangelism Resources
More from Spiritual Life
Sherman Nobles is an evangelist and a graduate of Regent University School of Divinity.
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