Seedtime and Harvest
"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" (John 4:34-35).
As I stepped outside one morning, the crisp coolness of fall greeted me. Usually, I turn on the light next to the door to avoid falling down the steps, but this morning the deck was already awash with light, although it was still hours until sunrise. As I walked to the end of the driveway, I saw the light source—a harvest moon.
God is in the details of our lives. He designed the moon to provide extra light in the fall to accommodate the harvesting of crops. Extra workers are hired and once all the crops are gathered, there is usually a celebration for the completion of work and God's bounty.
Jesus often taught using stories that reflected the occupations of the time and farming illustrations abound in Scripture. He used planting and harvesting to illustrate spreading the gospel and drawing in and nurturing those who believed. In Matthew 9, Jesus reminded the disciples of the need for more harvesters.
Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Matthew 9:37-38).
Now, more than ever, there is a need for workers who are willing to sow and harvest in spiritual fields. But why is it so hard to share our faith in Christ?
Fear—I walked the same route a man in my neighborhood ran. Eventually, his steps slowed to a stumble. Then he began working out on gym equipment in his garage. We continued to wave, but the Holy Spirit nudged me to walk up his driveway and tell him about Jesus. I invented excuses: time constraints, invasion of his privacy, not really knowing him. Sometimes, I even walked a different route, avoiding his house and my guilt for not stopping. Then, one day when I passed the house, cars jammed the driveway and spilled into the street. A grim black wreath hung on the front door. The man was dead and I had allowed fear to keep me from acting in obedience to God's voice.
Feeling inadequate—Satan steals confidence, convincing us we're not smart enough, engaging enough, wise enough, whatever enough to act on God's directives. God gave Moses an assignment and he immediately reminded God he was inadequate. Even after God promised to help him, Moses still refused. Needless to say, God was angry. God is disappointed when we don't trust him enough to step out in faith or when we don't listen when he instructs us.
Invasion of privacy. The world bombards us with the message that people have the right to diverse spiritual beliefs and we are wrong to force our message or risk offending by implying their beliefs aren't correct. But relaying your personal story about God at work in your life isn't forcing someone to accept Him. Your personal experience is your story and others may identify and come to know Christ because you were willing to tell it.
Expecting another messenger—Often, we hesitate to share our faith because we assume someone else will. But what if others are waiting for another messenger, too? God showed me that sharing my faith is a natural overflow of my love for him. When we're excited about something in our lives, we usually don't wait for someone else to spread our good news.
Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
Look around you. Your ripe fields awaiting harvest may be as close as a co-worker, neighbor, or longtime friend. So roll up your sleeves, go to work, and enjoy a bountiful harvest.
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Candy Arrington's publishing credits include The Lookout, Encounter, Focus on the Family, Clubhouse, The Upper Room, The Writer, and Writer's Digest. She is coauthor of Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House Publishers). Candy and her husband, Jim, live in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she sings in her church choir, and enjoys meeting God for long walks. www.CandyArrington.com
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