The Mission: Week 1 - Day 1
God, we are grateful that you would include us in your plan of salvation. Help us to recognize that you have prepared hearts in advance for the Gospel and give us the courage to bring good news to all we come in contact with.
READ: John 4:5 NIV
“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.”
This verse comes toward the end of the chapter recounting the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. I don’t think this is by accident. You see, the woman at the well was a Samaritan, despised by Jews as a half breed for their mixed heritage and mixed religious beliefs. The import of Jesus interaction with the woman is clear, we are to share Jesus with everyone. There is no one on earth excluded from God’s gift of salvation! In verse 35 Jesus makes it clear that there are many who are receptive to the Gospel and just need to be invited to hear. However, we often limit the “harvest” to those who we determine are worthy or willing to hear. Often these people dress like we do, eat what we eat, share the same political views, talk like we talk,… you get the idea, the harvest starts looking more like a quaint little garden. Intentional or not, by only sharing our faith with certain people we cast doubt on both God’s ability to reach lost people and God’s love for all people. I am certainly guilty of this at times. I find it interesting in this passage that not only does Jesus contrast the harvest being ripe in four months with the harvest being ripe right now. There is an emphasis on urgency and immediacy in Jesus declaration that the harvest is ripe. This is a confronting thought to those of us who are overly concerned about delivering just the right words at just the right time. In some ways this tendency to over strategize evangelism places the emphasis on externals and forgets that it is the Holy Spirit that ultimately converts non-believers and not our strategizing.
The most immediate application of the verse above is to recognize that God has prepared the harvest and to be part of the harvesting crew. The Holy Spirit is active in the world preparing hearts to receive the good news of Jesus. We need only to be willing to share and leave the results up to God. Keep in mind that the world will judge the Gospel not just on the message delivered but those who the message is delivered to. The bible reminds us that Jesus came to seek and save the lost, this includes all of us for, “all of have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 (NIV). He did not come to save liberals or conservatives, rich or poor, black or white. The world is watching to see just how encompassing our God’s love is. Let us strive to be great ambassadors for Christ sharing the Gospel to all walks of life during all seasons.
God, help me to overcome any doubts I may have about your ability to reach lost people. Help me recognize that when I witness to people who are different than me or those who have been written off, that it magnifies your love. Give me courage to share, trusting that you have gone before me to prepare the harvest.