Be Present for the Harvest Time
By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
While working my way through college I spent two summers working on a farm. It was a farm where a number of crops were grown as well as cattle. In those two summers I learned about different crops and when to harvest them. It was a great job and I loved that time on the farm.
When it was harvest time we worked long hours to get the harvest in before it was damaged by rain, heat or wind. We harvested hay, milo, and wheat. It was quite satisfying at the end of harvest to look over the full grain bins and over the fields all neatly harvested and know that it was a job well done.
In John 4:34,35 we see a great story of Jesus talking about the harvest: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.”
What I think is important for us to remember is the context of this text: You see he had just spent time talking to an sharing the gospel with a Samaritan woman.
The first thing to remember was that this was a Samaritan. This was a group of people that the Jewish people despised and discriminated against all the time. They would not even have a casual conversation with them. They would do only business transactions with them but would not speak to them otherwise. They had a history of hatred between the two peoples.
The Samaritans were relatives of the Jews and they had wanted to help build the temple in Jerusalem but were excluded. So all this animosity was between them and major discrimination took place.
Plus we need to remember that not only was Jesus talking to a Samaritan and asking for a drink but he was also talking to a woman. This was also a group of people that were discriminated against and they were a very downtrodden gender.
Yet Jesus goes right into the heart of this area and said the good news of Jesus is for everyone and we should be taking the gospel to everyone, every nationality, every gender.
The lady accepted the truth and as Desire of Ages says on page 195: “She proved herself a more effective missionary than His own disciples.”
We are in a time of major unrest in our nation. Yet the message of Jesus is still the same and that message of love and hope needs to be given to everyone. We stand against the virus of racism and need to work to eradicate it in our church and in the culture.
Jesus stood against injustice. In the midst of standing against injustice, He also looked out at the waiting harvest. We, too, need to look for the harvest, the opportunities to be present and engage with people who are ready to know and follow Jesus.
As we work together and plan together to take concrete steps for revival (pray, lament, confess, follow God’s leading) we will also see that we can take similar concrete steps against racism as well.
Let us be looking for the harvest and be willing to listen to and talk with all people as we seek to share Jesus.