Editor’s Note: This article comes from an Australian church planter within Acts 29. Discover more at Acts 29 Australia, New Zealand, Japan.

“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.” (John 4:35)

Most cultures have an expression or two that serve as warnings against haste and hurry. Good things come to those who wait. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Slow and steady wins the race.

In Jewish culture at the time of Jesus, “There are yet four months, then comes the harvest,” had a similar meaning. It drew on the cycle of sowing and reaping—well-known within their agrarian setting—to say a person shouldn’t expect to harvest a field they only planted that morning. Miracles don’t happen overnight, after all.

While that is always true in an agricultural sense, it is not so in a missional sense. Jesus warns us from settling for an evangelistic mindset that forgets that, when he is involved, miracles can happen overnight.

Come and See!

While patience in God’s mission is vital for long-haul faithfulness, the harvest isn’t only some time off in the future. There are people whom God intends to draw to himself—with saving, reviving impact—each and every day. Missionally speaking, patience in God’s timing and trust in his sovereignty must never be separated from urgency in our present work. We must learn to believe with Paul: “Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2, NLT).

“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

Returning from town with Jesus’s lunch, the disciples were shocked to find him engrossed in deep conversation with not only a woman (likely raising some eyebrows), but a woman from a people group who were the declared enemy of their own—a Samaritan. Jesus had just prophetically revealed to her the depths of her heart. But more than that, he had revealed to her the depths of his heart: he was the answer to her longings, he was the living water that could quench her thirst because he was the promised Messiah (John 4:26). Jesus warns us from settling for an evangelistic mindset that forgets that, when he is involved, miracles can happen overnight. Condividi il Tweet

At this revelation, her heart came alive with the joy of saving faith. It was the kind of joy that simply cannot be contained, no matter how hard you try. It was the kind of joy that forces itself out of the mouth and into the ears of anyone who will listen—that goes hurrying into town with the invitation: Come and see for yourself!

And apparently, this evangelistic interaction had a nourishing effect on Jesus himself! No longer hungry or fatigued by his journey, Jesus was revitalised. He said to his disciples, “I have food to eat that you do not know about. . . . My food is to do the will of him who sent me” (vv. 32, 34).

Christ’s Mission and Our Joy

Jesus wants his disciples to see something he has, that they don’t. He wants them to be aware of the satisfaction that comes by living in congruence with his identity as one who is “sent.” He wants them to understand that the Father has woven our joy into his mission. And when God’s mission becomes the lens through which we see our day—including those parts of our day that often seem like interruptions to our plans—there is a nourishing impact on our lives.

Because, after all: what is a sandwich compared to a soul?

God has woven your joy into his mission. It was C. S. Lewis who said our “delight is incomplete until it is expressed.” What if the boredom you and I sometimes feel in our Christianity is actually God’s alarm clock ringing in our hearts, alerting us to the absence of his mission? Have we started to live as if God has saved us but doesn’t intend to include us in the joyful work of anyone else’s salvation story? Have we become discouraged along the way and stopped participating at a personal level in the Great Commission? What if the boredom you and I sometimes feel in our Christianity is actually God’s alarm clock ringing in our hearts, alerting us to the absence of his mission? Condividi il Tweet

“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

Patience is most certainly a virtue in this great endeavour. Impassivity, however, is not. Let’s open our eyes to the people God brings across our path this week and each one after it, and follow Jesus into the Father’s work that he has set before us.

Written by: on Giugno 5, 2022
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