“I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already ripe for harvest.” (Jesus, in John 4:35)
I’m sure you all have heard the term “sacred cow.” It refers to something that is accepted as so right we should never question it… or give it a second thought.
I was always taught that this verse refers to people becoming Christians… that the harvest was souls who confessed to faith in Jesus. The harvest field is human souls – end of story. Sacred cow born.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that this understanding was not quite right.
Think about it. Jesus has not yet gone to the cross. Salvation is not yet provided. So Jesus is talking about something else entirely.
He is talking about where most of our good work is to be done – and how that work comes about. He is talking about fields of opportunity – where we can go to work… and the good work of God can be applied. And those “ripe fields” are all around us. We just have to lift up our eyes and truly see them.
What Jesus is talking about is the fields of human need. The hurting. The broken. The beaten down. The discouraged. The hearts overcome by guilt. The souls ravaged by sin. The weary. The troubled. The lonely. The ones forgotten.
People who have been devastated by the hardships of this world – these are the ones “ripe for harvest.”
Jesus came to this earth to do good work in those fields. Everywhere He went, He found the beaten and broken and He brought God’s powerful love into that situation… and His work changed it. He even made this confession: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.” (Luke 4:18)
Jesus did not come just to talk about God’s goodness – He came to actively demonstrate God’s goodness. His work was God’s work… to meet the needs of the poor, the captive, the blind, the oppressed. People of little importance in this world became objects of great importance in the eyes of “God With Us” (Jesus!).
Jesus desired to impart this same notion into His disciples… in every generation. Wherever there is need… there is the opportunity for God to work – doing work only God can do, through those disciples.
We just have to do as Jesus did. He lifted up His eyes, saw the needs all around Him, and selflessly met those needs with God’s grace.
We all tend to make things so complicated. We tend to make this life as a Christ-follower all about morals and rituals and good behavior.
At its very heart, true Christianity is seeing needs… and meeting those needs with God’s love — moving, motivating, and empowering us to serve and love just as our Lord did before us.
Prayer Focus: God, open my eyes to see the needs of those all around me… and grant my heart compassion that flows straight from Your heart.