Jesus said in John 4:35: “Do you not say, Four months more and then the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! they are ripe for harvest.”
I did some research to see what did this saying mean in the Jewish culture and found the following. After they planted the seed, there was four months between the sowing time and harvest time.
The phrase “four more months and then the harvest” was a common saying in Jesus’ day that connoted the feeling that there was no hurry in getting to a particular task because one could not rush the growth of the crops. Jesus, however, with the statement “They are ripe for harvest,” spurs the disciples on to proclaiming the good news of eternal life now, for people are spiritually hungry enough to receive it.
I can hear these days quite a few Christians using either wrong thinking or excuses and saying things like:
I AM NOT LED TO EVANGELISE or
IT IS NOT MY MINISTRY CALLING OR GIFTING or
GOD WILL USE SOMEONE ELSE IF I DON’T DO IT or
THERE IS NO URGENCY – JUST RELAX, BE BALANCED, DON’T BE TOO INTENSE – BECAUSE WE ONLY HAVE TO FINISH THE TASK BEFORE JESUS RETURNS, SO NO RUSH
This is my response to these ways of thinking or excuses:
1. I AM NOT LED TO EVANGELISE
Why do you need a voice to lead you to do it, when there is a verse in the Bible commanding you to do it?
In Matthew 28:19 it says:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”
Some immediately argue that this command was only given to the 12 apostles. Even if it was so, even though I don’t believe it is so, there is another verse that commands us to do it:
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and GAVE US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And HE HAS COMMITTED TO US THE MESSAGE OF RECONCILIATION. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 17:18-20)
If you read the context, this verse certainly speaks about all the believers.
So, if He gave you a command through Bible verses, why do you still need to be led by Him before you obey the verse? Do you need to first get a leading from God whether to love your neighbour as yourself?
What about the story of the good Samaritan which Jesus used to illustrate what it means to love your neighbour as yourself. The levite and the priest had excuses for not helping the man on the road who needed help. Maybe they were too busy with temple work to help someone in an emergency.
Maybe they felt their calling was to be in the temple doing all the rituals and not outside on the streets helping a perishing soul. Maybe they were afraid of the price they had to pay for getting involved – to pay for the men’s treatment, to take time off his journey, and what if the robbers get him, etc.
But the good samaritan could have used the same reasons – I am too busy, I have a business to run, I am not called to help the jews – after all they are my enemies! and so on – but instead he just simply loved the man and helped him out.
2. IT IS NOT MY MINISTRY GIFTING AND CALLING
You might not be an evangelist in your ministry gifts and calling, but we are all called to be witnesses of Jesus:
2 Cor 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
This is a message to all believers, not only to the evangelists. God gave us all the ministry of reconciliation and committed to us the message of reconciliation.The question is:
Are we faithful with what we have been committed in our trust?
Are we using these talents entrusted to us for which we will have to give an account?
We are Christ’s ambasador’s, as though God were making His appeal through us, we implore people on Christ’s behalf to be reconciled with God.
Are you letting God do this through you or are you shutting Him down through the above excuses, through misunderstandings regarding the will of God for you, etc.
3. GOD WILL USE SOMEONE ELSE IF I DON’T DO IT
Apostle Paul said:
Acts 20:26 – 27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”
“yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
This means that you can be guilty of the blood of other people if you do not declare to them the whole Gospel. Why did Paul say: Woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel? Why did Paul use the word ‘woe’ if there was not an impending danger or punishment coming to him if he did not the Gospel?
4. THERE IS NO URGENCY – JUST RELAX, BE BALANCED, DON’T BE TOO INTENSE – BECAUSE WE ONLY HAVE TO FINISH THE TASK BEFORE JESUS RETURNS, SO NO RUSH
Let me ask you this: what will happen in the meantime to the people who will die and have not heard the Gospel? Is it not urgent that we get to them in time to deliver the message before the day of their death hits them? Does this way of thinking represent loving your neighbour as yourself?
Jesus contradicted this way of thinking in a number of things He said:
John 4:35: “Do you not say, Four months more and then the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! they are ripe for harvest.”
Matthew 9:36 – 38 “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Jesus looked at the crowds and was moved with compassion … and He lamented that there are not enough people sharing the Gospel with them and reaping the harvest.
Jesus also said:
John 9:4-5: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
So, how can we be sure we can do the sharing of the Gospel later on in our life? Do we know what the future will hold? What if the preaching the Gospel will be prohibited by law in the future and no man can work like Jesus said?
Jesus’s thinking was along the lines that you have to do the work of God WHILE THERE IS A CHANCE TO DO IT, because there will be a time when no one CAN work, if they want to or not. Do you want to live with the regrets of “I wish I did it then when I was free to do it, now I want to, but it is too late, I can’t.
Also, who is to say how long you will live before God calls you home, or if you get sick or have some other problem come your way which prevents you from sharing the Gospel. You can’t say “There is no rush, I will do it tomorrow”, because you don’t have any assurance that you have a tomorrow waiting for you.
Jesus said: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world”
and He also said:
Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Jesus says He is the light of the world and also that we are the light of the world. And He tells us to let our light shine before men. Will you do it?
If we saw someone drowning in a lake, or in a house that is burning (the lost are in danger of drowning in the eternal fire of hell every moment), how reasonable and excusable would it be to say:
a. I am not led to go and rescue the person who is drowning or is in the fire; or I first need to pray and ask God if I should get involved to help. Even unbelievers would know this is plain wrong.
b. It is not my job to be a lifesaver or a fireman. Let the lifesaver or the fireman find this person and rescue him.
c. Even if I don’t rescue them, someone else will come along and see the problem and rescue the person.
d. Let’s not rush, there is no urgency, there are many people in the same situation in the world who need to be rescued, and we will get to do this job in the end and save some, never mind the ones that could be rescued now, we need to be balanced and not be too intense or we might affect our health if we jump in the cold water too often or get suffocated with too much smoke.
Do you see how ridiculous these ways of thinking and excuses are in the natural? Why do we use them in the spiritual?
By the way, if apostle Paul was alive today, based on the many trials Paul had, he probably would have been told that he is too intense, he is not relaxed enough, he takes too much upon himself, that he needs to be more balanced, to look more after himself, etc. Yet he said that he does not count his life dear to himself and the things he went through are signs of being an apostle.
Now that we have heard what the Word of God has to say about these misunderstandings and excuses, what are you going to do about it? Remember that if you hear the Word and do nothing about it, you are only deceiving yourself.
And how do you do it?
There are many ways you could go about, but after you start obeying and while you are acting in submission to His Word, the Lord can fine tune you by showing you specific ways He wants you to do it.
And don’t get stuck into the first method He shows you, be flexible, He might want to do it different every time; just look into the ways He ministered and you will see there were different ways He did things. But just to kick start yourself in simply obeying the Word, here are some things that we can do:
1. Start by praying and drawing nearer to Jesus, repent of sin (eg. not evangelising). He says in John 15 that without Him we can do nothing and if we abide in Him we can bear much fruit, that remains.
But do not get stuck in thinking that you are not yet close enough to Jesus or perfect enough or emotionally healed enough to do it. None of us are perfect and we won’t be till we get to heaven. Jesus gave the commandment to share the Gospel to imperfect people and to people who were still working on things in their own life as they went to evangelise. Think of Peter who was rebuked by Paul for behaving like a hypocrite with the Jews, think of Paul and Barnabas who argued over John Marcus if he is useful or not. Yet they were preaching the Gospel nevertheless.
In fact, I have found that one of the best ways to get on fire for God, is to give out and to evangelise. There is nothing like going out there, talking with unbelievers, seeing their blindness, their lost state, to motivate you to pray. And there is nothing like a discussion with unbelievers where you need to give them answers to their tough questions, that motivates you to study the Bible to find the answers you need to give to them. And there is no greater intimacy with Jesus than when you share in His sufferings, by suffering for Him and for the sake of the Gospel.
Therefore, the opposite is true, reaching out will make your relationship with God blossom speedily.
2. Pray that God will show you how He feels for the lost, and give you His love, compassion and heart for them.
3. If people bring up their own problems in conversations with you, tell them you are a Christian and offer to pray for them for the problem. If their problem relates to something you went through that the Lord saved you from, tell them your testimony about what God did for you in the same area.
4. Write down your testimony and email it to us and we will put it on www.christian-faith.com so people can be reached daily through it. Or you can write comments and quotes on Facebook or other places of interaction with unbelievers, if for the beginning you feel scared to people face to face.
5. Pray for and give financially to evangelism ministries – in other words, support God’s labourers, because they are few and many times the reason for lack of workers is lack of finances to support them.
5. Buy some Gospel tracts (or print some free ones from the internet) and put them in people’s mailboxes or give them out to people.
One man in Sydney, Australia gave out 20 tracts every day for 35 years without seeing one man come to Christ. He would simply ask people if they were to die that night, were they sure they would go to heaven, he would give them the tract and then leave. Two weeks before he died, miraculously God brought to light the many who got saved and were now labourers in God’s harvest, being very productive for God. You can see the video about this amazing story at:
Whatever you do, don’t just read this and do nothing. Jesus said in Luke 8:18
“Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”
In other words, if you hear something God is saying and you use it, you will get more revelation, but if you don’t, the revelation you have, even that will start to diminish – doesn’t this look to you like the picture of backsliding?
The apostle Paul said: “For the love of Christ compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
This should be the motivation in which we go forward and obey God in sharing the Gospel.
As you act and obey, ask the Lord to fill you with His love and compassion to the point that this love will compel you to reach out to those who do not know Christ. If you truly want it, He will give it to you. And once you have it, you also have the responsibility to use it well for His glory. His grace will enable you to do that.
God bless you,