Expect a harvest
Posted on February 28, 2019 by Aaron Kauffman
Last year I read through the New Testament with two of my children. When we finished the final chapter of Revelation, with its depiction of the holy city, where God will dwell with humanity, and of the tree of life planted at its center that will bring healing to the nations, my daughter exclaimed, “I want to live in that city!”
Me too! Of course, that means waiting for the return of the One who says, “Surely I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:20).
But we do more than wait. We live with expectancy, anticipating the day of Christ’s return by joining what he is doing now by his Spirit. Jesus is gathering people from every nation, tribe, and language into one global family under his lordship.
Or to use a different image, we join Jesus in seeing with hope-filled eyes that “the fields are ripe for harvesting” (John 4:35). And with fervent expectation, we “ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38).
Sometimes, however, our eyes stay fixed on the field we’re currently cultivating. We don’t see the new opportunities on the horizon.
Thankfully, Jesus knows how to lift our gaze to other fields ready for harvest.
One example comes in the Gospel of John. The text says that Jesus “had to go through Samaria” (4:4). He sees an impending harvest, but it’s clear his reluctant disciples do not. They see Jesus—tired, hungry and thirsty. And they see Samaritans—a kindred people whose lineage and worship are tainted by foreign influence. No opportunity for God’s kingdom to break through here.
Yet Jesus sees a harvest. He uses his vulnerable state to engage a Samaritan woman in conversation. His request for water and his gentle yet piercing insights disarm her questions, opening her heart to the good news that he is the Messiah. She eagerly shares her experience with her neighbors, who discover for themselves that Jesus “is truly the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
Meanwhile, the disciples, shocked to see Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman, can think of nothing to say except, “Rabbi, eat something” (John 4:31). Their preoccupation with earthly provision blinds them to the spiritual feast right in front of them. “My food,” Jesus declares, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. … I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:34-35).
Like the disciples, we can get so preoccupied with our own needs that we can’t see the bounty in God’s global harvest. What if we allowed our hunger to drive us into the grain fields of the world? Can we trust that Jesus is already there, beckoning us to reap with joy what others have sown?
May stories of transformation reignite our faith to pray, give and go, expecting a harvest.