John 4:31-38 Is It Harvest Time Already?
Topic: Worship, Evangelism, Church Growth, Outreach Scripture: John 4:31–4:38
The prophet of the Old Testament era patiently worked preaching the Word of the Lord, telling of the promised salvation to come. They sowed the Word of the Savior for generations and when Christ appeared, the world was made ready for Him by their efforts.
Today we stand at the dawn of a new and apparently darker age. We are told that it is the post-modern, post-truth age. We are told that people no longer have an interest in Christianity, that truth is old news and irrelevant for today. Much of the church in our day is running scared, as it were, frantically trying to find the method or the version of the story of Christianity to which the culture will once again give ear. Each year a new strategy is published while the last great one is condemned to the “irrelevant” heap failed efforts or no longer effective efforts. The result of this seemingly endless publishing of methodology and strategy has been a paralyzing apathy that has covered our churches like a wet blanket on a small fire. Why do we react in this way; because we are like the disciples were in this account. We are too ready to tend to our physical wants and needs to see that the fields of mankind are white for harvesting. How can we know this; because our Lord has told us that it is so. Will we have to work, labor, and toil, suffer loss and betrayal? Will some reap where they have not themselves sown? Will some sow and not reap? Will some die in the field while others weep bringing their sheaves with them? Yes, all of these are true; but it is also true that He is calling us to the fields!
Dr. D.A. Carson takes this passage to be about our Lord’s priorities and His desire to communicate them to His disciples. “The disciples … were urging Jesus to eat some of the food they had just bought from the town…But Jesus, though doubtless still thirsty (v. 7) and probably hungry, is apparently dwelling on the conversation he just had with the Samaritan woman. He decides to use the circumstance to teach his followers something of his own priorities: I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
What is this lesson that Jesus wishes to teach His disciples then and now? It is imperative that the church rediscover her Master’s teaching regarding the will of God.