Know the Season

How does a farmer know to harvest? When I typed this question into Google’s search engine, article after article from farm bureaus to agriculture websites shared all kinds of technology that help the farmers of America choose just the right time to gather their crops. However, after reading a few such writings, I couldn’t help but to chuckle to myself. I would answer the question the same way my Grandad Collins might have…it boils down to a farmer looking at their field and seeing that the crop is ripe! You know, the Bible uses the very same analogy for a spiritual harvest of souls ready to accept the free gift of eternal life. Jesus told the disciples, “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together” (John 4:35-38).

Now, it would be detrimental to a farm if the workers missed out on collecting the crop. There may be bankruptcy or even people who starve from it. But for Christians in the kingdom of God, it would be a shame to miss out on this spiritual harvest. If we stay quiet, God can still move and work—He can make the rocks cry out His glory and donkeys speak as part of His plan. But how unfortunate it would be for us to miss out on the blessing of being a part of it all. We have the purpose and privilege to be Jesus’ hands and feet here on earth, and that includes bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This includes our workplaces, our neighborhoods, our children’s or grandchildren’s sports teams, and even our families and friends. It also means other communities, cities, countries, continents, and people groups. We must know the season, and the season for harvest is now! There are two things we can take away from this topic that will spur us into putting on our equipment and heading out to the fields. The first is we cannot wait. The time is now! And the second is we must be perceptive to what is going on around us.

DON’T WAIT
Did you know that there are Christians all around the world that have been working tirelessly to fulfill Jesus’ last command? He gave us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” And there are many that have taken this very seriously. In fact, there are some leaders that are saying the Gospel will be finished going forth and the Great Commission will be fulfilled as early as 2033. A few are saying it could be even earlier than that! And if this is true, the question we must ask ourselves is what role will we play? Let me encourage you, dear reader, don’t wait. Don’t wait to start sharing your faith. Don’t wait to bring hope to others who are hopeless, desperate, and lost. Don’t wait to take the Gospel to your neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers. We can share the truth in a winsome and loving way. They can hear about the joy, peace, and difference Jesus has made in your life and want it as well. But the time to share the Gospel is now. Because we may blink, and the time for harvesting will be done. And I don’t know about you; but when I face my Savior and Lord in heaven one day, I want to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21).

BE PERCEPTIVE
The Holy Spirit is at work around us. He is softening and drawing hearts to Himself each and every day. And we can be a part of His work. One of the very best ways to join the Holy Spirit is by praying for what we like to call “Divine Appointments.” I cannot tell you how many times He has led me to a person who was waiting for someone to share the Gospel with them. In Arizona (after praying for guidance), I met a young, twenty-one-year-old man named Raymond who was sitting intently reading and waiting at a bus stop. As me and my friend Bill started talking to him, Raymond shared that he was in a recovery program that talked about God but hadn’t shared much about Him. Raymond was sitting there wondering how he could find out more information when we walked up. With tears in his eyes, he accepted Christ after hearing the whole Gospel. After we finished praying with him, he gave us big hugs and said, “Thank you! This is going to change my life.” We would have missed that amazing conversation all together if we decided not to go that morning. And we certainly would have missed it if we hadn’t stopped and prayed for the Holy Spirit to lead us to that “Divine Appointment.” So I encourage you—start praying for opportunities to share your faith and watch God do amazing things.

So how can we be a part of the harvest? Well first, we have to get up and go. Don’t wait! Today is the day of salvation. And secondly, we must be perceptive to what is happening around us. Let’s join the Holy Spirit in His work. Being a part of what God is doing has been one of the most exciting and fulfilling parts of my life! And I know that it can be for you as well. If you would like to take an online evangelism course to help get you started, visit www.sharelife.university or find a class near you at www.evangelismexplosion.org. Let’s be like Jesus and be about our Father’s business while we can. It’s harvest time!

John Sorensen (Doctorate of Divinity, Knox Theological Seminary & Doctor of Humane Letters, Montreat College) is the president of Evangelism Explosion International (www.evangelismexplosion.org) and host of Share Life Today (www.sharelife.today). Sorensen has authored the books Well Done and Your Story Counts and travels the globe for Evangelism Explosion. This past year Evangelism Explosion International equipped more than 435,000 Christians worldwide to be witnesses for Christ, and saw, by the grace of God, more than 7.9 million people make a profession of faith in Jesus. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Ann, and he has four adult children and six grandchildren.