The Great Harvest

Erich Schäfer

Our Lord tells a remarkable parable in the Gospel of Mark: “And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come” (Mark 4:26-29).

The earth has to absorb the seed, and then fruit can emerge. The seed is paramount. If it doesn’t go into the ground, it bears no fruit and, as a consequence, no harvest.

The Lord Jesus describes His life as a seed that must fall into the ground in order to bear fruit (John 12:24). He had to die so that we could be saved (see verses 31-32). That was the beginning of the great harvest. Jesus achieved victory over sin, death, and the devil through His death on the cross and His resurrection. In Him, we have the seed that leads to the rich harvest of mankind.

When He spoke with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, she recognized Him as a prophet, and spoke of the Messiah that she had heard about. It was a seed in her heart that sprouted when Jesus declared, “I that speak unto thee am he” (John 4:26). The woman then went into her city and told others about Jesus. The people came to see Him, and the Lord said to His disciples:

“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. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:34-38).

A great harvest of Samaritans believed in Him (v. 39). The Word of the Messiah was already planted in their hearts, and brought forth fruit when they saw Jesus. God is sending us so that we will bring in the harvest, souls, to God. For some, we still need to sow the seed; but others, we’re able to harvest because the Word of God was already working in their hearts. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). It’s our task to spread the Word of God, to scatter it, so that God can cause the seeds to sprout. It’s vital to go and proclaim the Gospel message!

The Lord Jesus went about teaching; He preached the message of salvation, and said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt 9:37-38). How many people could still be won for the Lord Jesus Christ; how many children of God could be strengthened and trained; how many churches built, to bear testimony to others? We only recognize the need when we open our eyes and see people the way Jesus does: “When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matt 9:36).

When we view the people around us through God’s eyes, He opens the doors for us that we must simply go through. The harvest is great. There are those who are spreading seed, as well as those who are tending and watering it. As workers in God’s harvest field, we can proclaim, pray, give, support. “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Cor 3:7). Everyone is called to be a worker, in his own way and in his own realm!

Those without a specific task can look at the harvest field, look at the church where God has placed them, and pray that God will show them how to get involved. He’s calling, “Whom shall I send, who will be my messenger?” What is our answer? “Here I am, send me!” May it be so in each of our lives.

Midnight Call - 03/2019

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