The blind songwriter, Fanny Crosby, was asked if there was anything worse than being blind. She replied, “Yes, to have sight and no vision.” Much of today’s church has the problem of being able to see physically but not spiritually. The Lord Jesus addressed that malady in John 4. He had just saved the woman at the well, and she had gone into Samaria to say, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” No sooner had she departed then the disciples said to Jesus, “Master, eat.”
In response to the disciples’ kind but carnal invitation, “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:34–35).
The concern of the disciples was meat, but the focus of the Saviour was men. Their interest was supper, His interest was souls. He told them to stop looking down at a temporal meal, and look up at the eternal multitudes. At that very moment, the woman had the entire town following her as she was coming to Jesus.
We preachers must lift up our eyes and help the believers we preach to catch the harvest vision. When Jesus told his disciples to look, He was exhorting them to look closely and perceive. Here are three aspects our Lord wants us to see about the harvest:
The Immediacy of the Harvest
Jesus said the harvest is white, meaning that it is ready to be harvested now. When grain is ripe, it turns a yellow or light color, meaning it is ready to be harvested. Jesus and His disciples could see the Samaritans approaching; they were the fields that were white unto harvest.
Paul Rader used to tell the story of a great wheat harvest in Australia that rotted in the fields during World War I. Because so many men had responded to the call of the military, nobody was left to gather in the grain harvest. It was a case of “reap or rot” as Rader pointed out. If you only preach in America, this may be hard for you to believe. Travel with me to many foreign countries and the story of Jesus will come alive. In recent trips to both Cambodia and Uganda, the response to the Gospel has been overwhelming. Though the harvest in America may seem to be slim, many places on this globe are ready to reap.
God’s commands to evangelize in Matthew 28:19–20, Mark 16:15, Acts 1:8, etc. are all to be carried out immediately. Though spoken almost two thousand years ago, today’s disciples are to be busy about the Father’s business (Luke 2:49). Paul was right when he exhorted, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans 13:11).
After a friend of mine preached the Gospel in an African village, a man received Christ and was joyful yet burdened. He looked at the preacher and said, “Why did you not come to our village sooner? Both my mother and father have died and gone to the Hell you just spoke of.” Death does not wait!
This is part one of this article. Please click here to read part two.