Friday, July 22, 2016

I Sent You to Harvest

For several weeks in the early summer our household practically runs in the chaotic mode preparing for the county fair.

Crafts are everywhere you look, the bathroom turns into a jungle, while the living room becomes a warehouse and the refrigerator a florist shop.  Finally it was “fair” week and time for our labor to be rewarded … hopefully! 

Pulling up to the Expo building we could see the entrance door was blocked by a vehicle.  It was that lady again … she does this every year making it hard for the rest of the people to bring in their entries. 

“Oh I don’t like that woman, she does this all the time. She is so nasty and has no consideration for anyone else.” My husband blurted as he repositioned our car so we could bring in our things for the fair. 

I really wasn’t paying attention to her, because I was looking at the truck on the other side of her vehicle.  The entire cab and body of the pick-up was loaded with boxes and boxes full of flowers.  All I could think was how is she able to do it all and keep them fresh in this tropical heat. 

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All’s Fair 

Our midsized car was jam packed as well leaving practically no room for us to sit.  Grabbing a silk flower arrangement that was nestled between my feet on the floor, I managed to pour myself out of the car without too much difficulty.  When I say “pour” I mean almost literally with the temperature pivoting on 100 degrees and a heat index  of 110.   

Hearing the back car door close I turned around to see my husband watching the lady drive away. With a large tote in hand hubby repeated his feelings, “I know I don’t know her, but I don’t like that woman.”  

Entering on Time 

There were four tables, each about eight feet, lined up end to end length wise.  Looking around I could see that the only table available was at the far side of the room, the other tables were taken up by the truck lady’s entries.  With every load we brought in, she brought in two or more.  From the looks of it, surely her place must be like a garden of Eden. 

It was 11:20 a.m. and all exhibits had to be placed by noon.  I hoped we would be able to enter our things in time, but with having to wait for the other woman I wasn’t sure if we would meet the deadline.  For the entire week my husband and I had about fifty items from baked goods, crafts, vegetables, flowers and herbs, but this lady had hundreds of entries.  It could take well over an hour. 

Several ladies were working to write down all the things that “flower lady” brought.  In the mean time I took all my items out of the containers and displayed them on the remaining table so I could easily enter them when it was my turn.  

Before too long the superintendent of the flower exhibit sat down in front of me at her table and asked if I was ready.  I was surprised to see her, but so appreciative. Thank you Lord for Your favor; I wouldn’t have to wait.  Having my entries within reach we quickly walked through each category.   

When it came to each division she asked why I didn’t have some of them.  “Do you have a marigold arrangement?”  Unfortunately I didn’t because the heat fried them.  “Nope. My neighbor had tons in their yard, but mine didn’t make it for some reason.  Neither did my impatiens, lilies or coleus.”  

A few minutes later my husband stepped up to enter his flowers.  When hubby took back one of his entries the superintendent asked him why he was removing it from competition.  “It doesn’t look good.” She motioned for him that it was alright and to enter it.”  Whew … we made it with time to spare. 

Not Her Harvest 

Seeing that the other woman was still in full swing with her items we walked around the hall to see the other exhibits and entries from earlier in the week.  Hubby was at the other end of the room when I saw the superintendent coming toward me. 

“I don’t want you to feel bad about what you’ve entered or couldn’t enter.  That lady goes around harvesting from her neighborhood plants and flowers that she hasn’t labored for or grown. I can’t stop her from doing that, but we can do something about her double entering in the judging.”   

Walking away I heard her call out, “Five more minutes.” By now it was almost 12:15 p.m. and the flower truck lady still had more boxes to unload. 

It is Well with Her Soul 

All week long I’ve been trying to trust the Lord by being open to discipleship in ways I’ve never been led.  In my daily Bible readings I studied the first part of the book of Saint John.
There are so many things Jesus taught His disciples that I wasn’t sure what was to be my focus for this article… that was until Thursday when my husband and I read chapter four together. 

At this time in ministry Jesus and the disciples had left Judea.  They were returning to Galilee, but would have to go through Samaria before reaching their destination.  It was outside of town when the Lord stopped for a break. 

The disciples had gone into the city to buy something to eat while Jesus remained seated at one of the wells of Jacob to rest.  By now He had become a popular figure so getting some quiet time would be nice.  Not long after a Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus struck up a conversation with her. 

The Bible doesn’t tell us how long the woman stayed at the well, but we learn that she was enlightened to the fact that Jesus was indeed the Saving Christ Messiah who would teach the people all things.  By the time she departed all was well with this lady’s soul. 

What did I send you to do? 

The disciples had come back and saw Jesus talking with the Samaritan lady, but not one of them dared to ask Him any questions.  I can imagine Peter poking Andrew in the side saying, “Look at the Master?  What is He doing talking to a married woman and a Samaritan at that?”   

In their culture at that time both were forbidden.  Also the Samaritan women only gathered water from the well when it was toward evening. They were not privy to the information that Jesus knew about this particular lady and judged her based on what they “perceived” was true. 

Watching the lady leave the disciples offered Jesus something to eat. Instead of chowing down Jesus responded with something that baffled the disciples.  He told them “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” (vs. 32)  Being confused by what Jesus said the disciples looked at one another and wondered, “Ok, who bought Jesus a happy meal?”   

The Master continued spelling out His position. Jesus’ nourishment (satisfaction) came from doing the will of His Father who sent Him and finishing it completely.  It was the next part of the statement that I saw favor in what Jesus was telling His followers. 

The reader has to understand how the disciples felt and that they were learning “as they go” with their leader.  Jesus was footing their bills and had been sowing seeds and doing good deeds everywhere they went.  What were they learning through all of this?  We’d soon find out … not very much. 

“You understand the process of planting seeds in the fields and the months it takes before the harvest, but I tell you the time to gather is right now.  Take a look around you, what do you see? 
You only look at people as people, but I’m telling you to see them as a field of ripe fruit waiting to be harvested for the Kingdom of God.  Don’t look at people through your eyes, but through God’s as souls needing to be saved. 

John the Baptist and others planted seeds about My coming.  Now look, see that lady who was just here?  She knew of Me because someone planted a seed.  She was waiting to hear Good News and received salvation today.  The harvest was ready and I brought it in for My Father.  Both the planters and harvester can now celebrate, because the will of God has been done. 

I sent you to gather the crop where you didn’t plant and all you brought back was a bag of food.  Did you even mention me to anyone or proclaim I AM has come to save them?  

Others have already done the work for you.  As my disciples I have given you favor and the privilege of gathering the harvest to reap where you haven’t sown or labored.  You have entered into their labor to win souls.” (taken from John chapter 4) 

What Did You See? 

While we were having lunch, clear out of the blue my husband made this statement.  “I judged her and didn’t see her as a harvest.”  Stumped I asked him what he meant.  

“That lady I said I didn’t like.  I judged her because of her behavior and how it ticked me off. I never saw her as a harvest for God or needing to be saved.” 

I have to admit the same was true for me and this led to thinking about the words the superintendent said concerning that flower lady.  Harvesting from other people.”  Hmm …. Harvest which isn’t hers.  Isn’t that what satan does?  He deceives people and steals as many souls as he can from God.  

The devil is very aware he can even use Christians to lead people away from God through distraction, confusion or detouring so others won’t turn to Christ.  In the meantime, if he (satan) is successful the fruit will waste away in the fields. 

Harvest in Every Season 

Why the superintendent felt compelled to share the information about the woman is beyond me. I wasn’t questioning her behavior, but only wanted to know how I could do better in bringing my entries to the fair as she did.  How she gathered her harvest never entered my mind, and if she went to all that trouble she must have her reasons.   

The entire event was timely in how Jesus was “discipling” me concerning the way I see His harvest.  I try to view people in a caring, compassionate way, but have to wonder if the “fruit” fields around me are being overlooked or stolen right under my nose?   What field of labor have I been given in which Jesus has granted me favor to reap the harvest where I haven’t plowed?  

Jesus said that the fields are white unto the harvest; they are ready to be harvested no matter the season.  This means that as Christians we are to have spiritual vision enough to see everyone who hasn’t accepted Christ as part of a “fruit” crop ready to be harvested for the Lord. 

Like the woman at the fair who had no vision problem and saw everyone’s yard as a potential harvest, so does satan when it comes to soul winning. If we aren’t willing to see value in a soul as Christ does, the devil will pick the field clean for his harvest.  If that happens the soul will be lost for eternity and God’s plan for that person will not be fulfilled. 

This Week’s Challenge:
Harvest Where You Are 

Contrary to what you may think, not everyone who becomes a Christian is sent to the farthest part of the earth to win souls.  The truth is all believers are called to harvest where they are at any given moment.  (Please don’t use the phrase “bloom where you’re planted!”) 

Something the first disciples had to learn as they journeyed with Jesus was that they were to wins souls to Christ even when they weren’t actually traveling with Him.  By the time they ministered with the Lord the seeds of His coming were already sown.  Think of how many more people have planted seeds about Jesus before us; the numbers are staggering, yet there are still so many more souls to be harvested. 

This week our challenge is twofold.  While out in the world simply doing the business of the day, think about what Jesus said regarding the “white fields”. 

First – Notice the way you have been looking at people and how it has caused you to think about them.  Stop believing that certain individuals are sent by the devil to tick you off and make your life miserable (even if that’s what they’re doing). 

Without judging people start thinking like Jesus, and that “everyone is a potential harvest for the Kingdom of God.”   As Jesus pointed out to His disciples, “Wake up and take a look at all souls still lost.” 

Second – If you’re a Christian you have already been sent into the fields by Jesus, so start gathering souls for Him. Harvest right where you are.   

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace (favor) to help in time of need.”
(Hebrews 4:16) 

Christians today live in a critical time in God’s plan. There is a reason we have been born during the last days (as the Bible describes), in which Christ says He will pour out His favor and it’s not about gaining “stuff.”    

God has specifically chosen us to do this work before Jesus returns. The Old Testament prophets and first disciples were called for their time period to sow seeds they would not always see harvested.  The “field” harvest is ready and full of hungry souls longing to hear of the hope found only through Jesus Christ. It’s up to believer’s not to let the spiritual fields go to the devil. 

It’s time we lift our voice for Jesus that “out of Zion’s Hill salvation is still calling.”  We have been given the opportunity to reap the remaining bounty here on Earth, and gather rewards for Heaven by harvesting souls for the Lord.  God will grant us the favor we need in order to finish our journey with Jesus by our side. 

“I have given you favor and sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant.” (from John 4:38) 

Meet Christ in the Throne room of grace, and receive the needed favor to do the will of God for harvesting souls where you are.   

“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more and more.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1) 

Days of Elijah (Robin Mark) 

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Until next time, receive God’s favor for harvesting souls! 

“I’ll give you favor so that souls may be saved.”
Jesus Christ

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy.  Hubby is fully aware of this article  ... being one of my editors.

Note: Emphasis is given in some scriptures to show clarity or understanding and is not to take away from the inspirited Word of God. 

When used, the words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives. 

... and yes the word "discipled" isn't a word used by the world, but that of believers. 

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible.
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