Maximized | John 4.35.38
Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?’ Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” John 4:35-38 | ESV
“Don’t you all stand around with long faces saying, ‘Four months, then the harvest. I guess we’ll have to wait?’ Well I have a different tune for you. Open your eyes! Look! Get a load of these fields right here and now! The harvest comes to us, ripe and ready for the picking. Those who work this harvest – talk about a payback! It’s out of this world! Both the seed-sower and the fruit-picker joining in the ultimate barn dance in celebration. And isn’t this what everyone says: ‘One sows, another reaps.’ It’s true. And so I’ve sent you out as harvesters in fields you’ve never worked before. Others did the hard work before you ever laid eyes on the field, and you’re walking right into the benefits of their hard work, the fruit falling into your hands right and left.” MAV
Recently someone sent me a quote from a well-known tele-evangelist (yes, they still exist) calling on their flock to speak to their wallets to maximize their income and hence their prosperity and well-being. Assorted statements of Jesus are frequently quoted (e.g. “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you shall receive”) as support for such “wallet-speech.” And while I don’t want to dis such tele-evangelists or pooh-pooh positive thinking, I would only observe that all such statements were made by a Man who owned only the seamless shirt on his back, who had nowhere to lay his head, and who actively and directly challenged people in radical de-acquisition as he literally walked and spoke such words in the shadow of his own ultimate “de-acquisition” in the cross.
Jesus traffics in another sort of payback, and we’re not merely talking about “heaven by and by.” We’re talking about something much more interior and intrinsic right now; something much more enduring and deep. He speaks of it here in terms of a great harvest work and its accompanying barn dance celebration to beat all barn dance celebrations. But it’s a harvest of hearts, of people, of souls.
And the harvest was literally moving towards them.
You can’t help but wonder how much this move north through Samaria to Galilee didn’t feel like a retreat to those Jewish disciples with such high hopes of societal change through their long awaited Messiah. Four months, then the harvest. Oh well. Wait. We must put our expectations and dreams on hold, and grimly hold on for a later comeback. And then I see them glancing towards this crowd of dingy Samaritans coming out of the village. What are they doing? I can almost hear them groaning and wondering where they could hide. But it was the harvest moving towards them. They didn’t even have to do anything but open their minds to the possibilities written all over those faces and embedded in each of those foreign hearts and open their arms to embrace them.
How often does our own harvest move right towards us as we dodge, bob and weave out of its way, oblivious, clueless; and as Peter Banning in Hook is repeatedly told, “Peter, you’re missing it.”
What soul work would Jesus lead you to embrace today? Whose heart would he empower you to touch?
Lord, help me not to miss the very harvest you are sending to me. Let me see it, enter it, embrace it. And let me feel your pleasure as I do. Through Christ.