In reading my Bible this morning a verse really stuck out to me. It’s like the words zoomed off the page, and I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking those words just for me at that moment.
I think of that old song by The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn, where they sing, “there is a time for every purpose, under heaven.” Taken from the 3rd Book of Ecclesiastes, the words basically explain that every event in our lives is for a purpose. Even the hard ones. If ever there was a season that I would question its purpose, it would probably be this one. There have been hundreds of memes joking about the horrible year that was 2020, and we laugh. But I think most of us laughed to keep from crying.
Whether you want to quote The Byrds or the original author, likely Solomon, the verse/lyrics tell us, there’s a time to weep (which I did a lot the last year), a time to laugh (which thankfully I continued to do). It also says there’s a time to plant (which I try to do daily), but also a time to reap (which brings me back to the beginning of this whole thing).
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 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.
Ripe for the harvest. Y’all, I believe our country is ripe for a harvest.
The conversation in John 4 takes place between Jesus and His disciples right after He’s spoken to the Samaritan woman at the well. This is significant in the fact that Jesus just told this woman a time was coming when she wouldn’t have to go to the mountain or Jerusalem (to the temple) to worship. Jesus tells her that His Father is seeking worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and Truth. He lets her know that time is coming, and it’s coming through Him. As a Samaritan and a woman she’s been “unworthy” according to the religious leaders, but the Messiah arrives to rock the foundations of the Law and to tear the temple curtain in half. Meaning, people like the sinner at the well are welcome to seek forgiveness and eternal life as much as anyone else.
Over the years (since the arrival of Christ), the enemy has come to distort the message of Salvation, and he’s often come under the guise of religious law. If you’re looking for the devil, you won’t find him in a bar or strip club. You’ll find him in the church, whispering his lies softly to those who will listen. You can look back in history at the destruction of mankind in the name of the Lord, and each time after Satan has used man to destroy the message of love and forgiveness, the Holy Spirit has raised up purveyors of truth to heal the rift zealotry has left in its wake.
I believe we are in a period of time where Jesus is calling purveyors of His truth to rise.
Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest!
I don’t want to save people! Only Jesus does that. But I do want to show people the healing that can be found only in His love. I want to offer freedom to the captives and daily success through this troubled world.
Boy, is this world troubled. The pain, loss, and hatred of 2020 has planted open, hungry hearts in the center of mankind. The ground has been made soft by this past year. I don’t believe God gave us COVID to judge mankind, but I do believe He can use it to draw His children into His loving arms.
So, how does one reap in a season of harvest?
I’ll tell you how NOT to reap.
We will never reap by an Us versus Them mentality.
We will never reap by separating ourselves from those who need us the most.
We won’t reap by ignoring the reality of racial inequality and injustice, simply because it makes us uncomfortable to admit it still exists.
We cannot reap when we close ourselves off in a church building, with a sign of rules posted outside the door.
We cannot reap by placing politics at the forefront of our purposes.
We cannot reap when our hope is in who is elected to the oval office, rather than who is the King of Kings.
We cannot reap when we ignore the sins of pride, rage, hatred, or malice, while only focusing on the sins of homosexuality or abortion.
We cannot reap when we speak words of division and anger, rather than words of kindness and love.
We cannot reap when we publicly bicker with fellow believers on social media who have differing opinions.
Do you love Jesus? Do you believe He died for our sins so we might have eternal life?
If the answers are yes and yes, then we as the church of Christianity should stand united to reap.
Who did you vote for? Are you a Republican or a Democrat?
These are the questions that distract us from the ripe fields.
There’s a wind of deception blowing through our land. Why do you think that is?
The Father seeks those who will worship Him in Spirit and Truth.
Satan seeks to divide, deceive, and distract.
I believe we have come to a season of harvesting. I believe for many Christians it’s a time to turn, turn, turn.
To turn away from political entanglements. To turn away from a deceiving Religious Spirit that whispers anything other than the Saving Grace of Jesus!
We are in a season of harvesting, but many of the “workers” are trying too hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. This is not our job, gang. The Messiah decides what needs to be gathered into the barn and what gets thrown into the fire. I fear many think too highly of their position as wheat, and I certainly don’t want to be told by my Savior to depart, that He never knew me.
So, how do we successfully reap in this season?
We reap by reading our Bible more and our social media feeds less.
We reap by seeking the truth of the Holy Spirit, not by seeking truth in the media or on YouTube.
We reap by loving God with all our heart, and not giving the best of ourselves to our politics.
We reap by loving our neighbor as ourselves, not by saying “we gotta take care of our own first.”
We reap by laying down pride, by turn, turn, turning from self-righteous indignation.
We reap by admitting where we have been wrong.
We reap by modeling forgiveness. Y’all, I’ve been working on this one. My heart hurts from religious friends who told me I wasn’t a “true Christian” when I questioned if Donald Trump was the best representative for Christianity. I have had to lay down my offense over and over, understanding it’s not about me. It’s about doing His will. In the verses above in John, Jesus said his food was to do the will of His Father.
We need more of that! We’re getting a bellyache lately from filling up on worldly food, making ourselves sick on politics and conspiracy theories. We cannot reap if our diet is unhealthy! We must feed on His truth, His bread of life, and His living water. I am certain we will never find those foods stocked on the shelves of this world.
We reap by loving first. Loving God, and loving others. The “others” here includes those who think different than you, look different than you, vote different than you, and live different than you. If you’re interested in being in a “Saved Club” where you and your closest friends get to go to Heaven, then by all means, continue the work you’ve been doing. But if you desire to truly open your eyes and see the field, then I encourage you to step away from the worldly distraction. Step away from the law, and step into His grace. Step into the neighborhoods, lifestyles, and groups you sneer at, and join the Father in showing EVERYONE the way home.