Friday, October 06, 2017
Psalms 96:11 – 13 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.
One of the highlights of my years in ministry has to be the years spent serving the people of Bayou du Large, Louisiana following the devastating effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I specifically remember one trip that was especially meaningful.
We traveled twelve hundred forty-nine miles one way. My wife and I were joined by another couple as we spent four days in the van and five full days ministering to the people. Our primary purpose for going was to help the pastor of the church and his wife relax by sending them on a seven day vacation trip while we did all of his work for the week. We handled the church service on Sunday, then spent Monday through Thursday working on his house so they could get closer to moving into it. The pastor spent all of his time working on other people’s homes, so this trip was to help him get his own home done.
As we drove along the many miles south, the changes in the scenery and topography were very obvious. We went from the rolling hills of Wisconsin covered with multi-colored trees in a spectacular fall display to the deep green forests of Mississippi where magnolia and hibiscus trees were still blooming.
In between we saw flat fields of dried corn and soybeans providing food for deer and turkeys while they waited to be harvested, and miles of dark brown plants covered with white pods of fluffy cotton.
Every state had its own beauty, and each part of nature seemed to unite in songs of praise to the Creator. The full moon rejoiced as it set in the west as the sun rose in the east making the earth glad. The fields were jubilant with the bounty of their harvest while everything in them was filled with joy as they filled themselves with food. The trees, clothed in multi-colored robes, sang in perfect harmony as their leaves and branches were moved by the wind. I am unable to adequately express in words the reality of seeing the diversity of nature unite in resounding songs of joy to the Lord.
But I was most deeply moved when I saw for the first time ever the cotton fields of Arkansas that were ready to harvest. As far as my eye could see towards the horizon they were white as if it had snowed in Wisconsin. I immediately thought of the words of Jesus in John 4:35 when He said, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
I know that Jesus was not referring to cotton fields, but it was the most vivid example of that statement I had ever seen. I spent much time considering its importance to my life. I was never so overwhelmed with the desire to be a more effective worker in the harvest field as I was at that moment. The fields of the world are filled with souls that are ready to be harvested for Jesus Christ. And very soon Jesus is coming to collect His harvest.
Some of the cotton fields had already been picked, and around them were large semi-trailer sized bales of cotton waiting to be collected and redeemed for profit. The farmer is rejoicing that very soon he will be rewarded for his labor.
So it is with God’s harvest. The heavens are rejoicing and the earth is glad because the Lord is coming. The sea and everything in it resounds while the fields and everything in them are jubilant because the Lord comes to judge the earth. The trees sing for joy before the Lord because He comes in righteousness and truth to judge the peoples of the earth. Jesus is coming to collect His harvest.
But wait! If He comes today to judge the earth with righteousness and truth, how much of the harvest will be lost because the workers have not entered the fields? The fields are white and ready to be harvested, but the workers are few.
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
But beware of praying for workers without a willingness to become one. When Jesus made His request for the disciples to pray for workers, He was speaking to men who were already committed to the work. Look at what Jesus says to them in the very next verse in Luke – Go! I am sending you out…
We are to be praying for additional workers to join us in the fields where we are already working. Every day we live in a harvest field. Unfortunately, we don’t all assume the duties of a harvester. We live in a white field ready to be picked for the Lord but we spend our time on the weeds that meet our own needs. We are working, but we are working to meet our own desires rather than God’s.
We may not believe that the harvest is ready, but Jesus says it is. We may not believe that the people around us want to hear the Gospel, but Jesus says that there are some that are ready to hear.
Jesus has sent us into the fields to collect His harvest. Get busy with His work. It is the only work you can do that has eternal value.