Pastoral 2013

Who Will Reap the Harvest?

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 03 February 2013

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How I long to see every Christian in our church taking the work of soul-reaping with increasing enthusiasm and commitment! May the Lord Jesus Christ, the lover and redeemer of our souls, motivate our hearts with His Words that we may be good reapers of the soul-harvest.

John, the Gospel writer, records in John 4:34-35 - “Jesus saith unto them, 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.”

Jesus here talked about sowing and reaping. Just before He spoke these words, He had sown the Gospel seed in the heart of the Samaritan woman whom He met at the well. She had now gone back to her city to tell her people about Christ. Soon, she would return with her villagers.

Jesus uttered the above words to prepare His disciples to win the souls of those who would be coming with the woman. The Lord used the language of harvest, which the disciples were very familiar with, to teach them the need to be ready soul-harvesters.

Those words of Christ are relevant for our times too. If Christians of our times would take heed to the truths of these words our Lord uttered, there will be great soul-harvesting in our churches. To cheer all of us on in this glorious and urgent work of soul-winning, I would like to share the following thoughts from the above conversation of our Lord with His disciples.

Be an Expectant Soul-Harvester

Jesus told them, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Those words of our Lord urge us to be aware of the ripeness of many thousands of souls that are still living in sin. Let us not be doubtful about the readiness of many souls to believe in Jesus.

The disciples of Jesus lacked a genuine expectancy of a great soul-harvest until that time. So Jesus told them to “lift up” their eyes and “look”. They needed to observe and understand the signs of soul-harvest before them.

There was one soul to whom the Lord had already reached out to and He wanted the disciples to now that it was a sure sign of many more to come and believe. Every soul that is rescued by the Great Saviour is a certain assurance that many more are going to be likewise delivered by Him.

Dear reader, open your eyes and be observant. Is not the grace of God that delivered you, a token that He can save a great many more like you? Is not the person who is sitting next to you in the church, yet another token of His power to save many more out there? Just open your eyes and see what the Lord is doing and expect a great blessing in your labour for Him. We do not lack this sign with regard to the great harvest of souls. We have had it in the past; we have it still before our eyes.

So, please open your eyes to see the ready souls. Some people will respond with eagerness as soon as you knock at their door, or share with them your experience since you trusted Jesus, the Son of God. Some are lying on their sick beds with fear of death and hell. See their need to believe in Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, and preach the Gospel to them. Some have lost all confidence in life, for they have found themselves without strength and motivation to live in the absence of a tender, yet powerful Saviour. There are so many such as them awaiting an expectant harvester to come around to guide them to Jesus, the Great Saviour.

If you are His disciple, eager to do His will, then go and reap with great expectancy. When you reap one soul, go and look for another, and another, and another. We should always be ready to share the Gospel. Be willing and ready to reach out to relatives, neighbours, fellow students, teachers, colleagues, co-travellers, strangers on the road and in the markets. We must also be diligent to direct them to the church that they may grow spiritually through the teaching of the Word and fellowship.

There are so many people who are hurt, lonely, and lost, waiting for a kind soul to come around and lead them out of the misery of their sins. They need to be told of Jesus, the lover and redeemer of souls. They must be told that His atoning death on the cross will give them freedom from sin and its misery; and if they believe on Him, they too can receive abundant life. Who will tell them of Jesus and why He died? Who will bring them into the kingdom of our Saviour that they may rejoice in its blessings?

Be an Ever-Ready Soul-Harvester

Patience is a great virtue, but decisive action is all the more a necessary virtue in soul-harvest. Jesus told the disciples, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you. . . . they are white already to harvest.”

There are so many who keep postponing their duty of evangelism, saying, “Maybe it is not the time of harvest yet.” The common reason for lack of urgency in soulharvesting is that “there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest.” They say, “This is not the time; we better show patience. We must wait; this is not the man; this is not the hour; this is not the place. We must wait till better circumstances are suitable for evangelism to appear.” Many are waiting for the opportune time that will produce grander results.

Their favourite phrase, when it comes to evangelism is that “It’s not the time yet.” Meanwhile, it is true that many are dying without Christ. Our cemeteries and graveyards are crowded. Time and tide wait for no man. Moment by moment, multitudes are perishing without the Saviour. Yet, many in the church say, “There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest.”

Such attitude is a prevailing trend in many ministries of the church, namely, youth ministries, children’s ministries, etc. Are we zealously working to bring youths and children in our neighbourhoods to hear the Gospel? “There are yet four months,” they say, “and then cometh harvest.” In the first year of Gethsemane B-P Church Children’s Ministry, a visiting Christian noticing the struggles of our small church in fetching children on Saturday to church to teach them God’s Word, asked me, “Are you sure that these children will be saved? They may not even last one year with you.” Even though some children would give up their initial zeal to participate in the church programme, yet those who ministered continue with a sense of urgency, hoping that before these young persons die, the Word of God would take root in their hearts, and their faith would mature.

We can’t wait until someone comes and says, “Sir, what must I do to be saved?” Have you not been waiting too long? Have not months and years passed you by without you feeling any urgency at all to preach the Gospel to someone? When will you end your waiting? We have waited long; we have waited till our patience may well have exhausted itself.

May we take heed of our Saviour’s words, and no longer say that “there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest.” Let us do as He says: “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Expect a present blessing in your evangelistic efforts. Believe your Master that He will grant you a good harvest, if you go at His command. Let’s not be just dreamers of great soul-harvests. Instead, let us be labourers in our Lord’s harvest field. Until we move with great urgency, we shall not experience a great harvest. Get out of your sluggish waiting, and go to the field that is ready for harvest with ready hearts and hands. Let us manifest readiness and instantaneous diligence.

We have a lot more work to be done after every Sunday outreach. We need to call them and encourage them to come to the church. We need to meet up with them to show them the Scriptural truths about faith, worship, fellowship, service, etc. In other words, we need believers who really labour to garner these souls. Like labourers who bring the grains into a granary, we also must labour to bring the souls to the church. Otherwise, the work of evangelism will always be a job left uncompleted by the people in the church.

Conclusion

In Matthew 9:38, our Lord exhorted His disciples, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Will you say “Yes” to the Lord as He awaits labourers to go to the harvest that many more souls may be brought to His kingdom? Every Christian who is expectant of a present blessing will hurriedly say, “Yes, I will go to reap the souls.”