In this portion of scripture, Jesus’ disciples tried to get Him to eat a meal. The Lord though, took the conversation in a different direction. This led Him to say the fields are ripe for harvest.
You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. John 4:35
This story came at the conclusion of when Jesus ministered to the woman at the well. She ran back to the village where she told everyone about this man claiming to be the Messiah.
“Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him. John 4:29-30
Earlier Jesus’ disciples went to buy some food. They returned about the same time the women left to go to the village. The disciples were concerned if Jesus had eaten anything or not.
What they didn’t understand was, Jesus had just talked to a woman who was deeply lost in sin. Even though He revealed the depth of her sin to her, He didn’t condemn her.
At that moment she was freed from her sin knowing that she received redemption through Him. From the standpoint of Jesus, His hunger was satisfied by doing God’s will.
Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” John 4:34
The Lord used this incident as a mentoring moment in the process of developing His disciples. Metaphorically He spoke of the harvest and how the fields were ripe for picking.
The process of putting in a garden involves quite a bit of work just to get the ground ready. As much as I enjoy gardening I don’t plant a big one anymore.
As I am writing this, it is Springtime. I recently planted a few vegetables including some tomato plants. In the evenings I love to walk along to observe how well each plant is growing.
Right now everyone of those tomato plants has at least one yellow flower on it. Each evening I’ll water all the plants and watch how those flowers will turn into tomatoes.
Soon the day will come when we can pluck ripe tomatoes off the plant for our enjoyment. Then I’ll be able to use the words Jesus used; out in the fields the tomatoes are ripe for harvest.
When we plant a garden, the responsibility of tilling, raking, planting, weeding, and harvesting falls directly on our shoulders.
Our Responsibility in God’s Garden
But when we work in the God’s garden, He only holds us responsible for some of the work. He told us in His Word what He wants us to do and what He will do. Paul explained our duties.
I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6
So in that verse of scripture, Paul laid out for us the three aspects of gardening. We can’t make anything grow, that’s God’s job. Our job consists of planting and watering.
We as humans like results. Therefore if we continually plant the seed (the gospel) without seeing results then we feel like a failure. But look what the apostle said about planting and watering.
The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 1 Corinthians 3:8
Both the jobs of planting and watering the seed are equally important. But who does them isn’t. God, however, takes care of the most important task.
It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 1 Corinthians 3:7
Who Prepares the Soil?
What is the first thing we must do in order to plant a garden? Prepare the ground or soil. In fact, that is often the hardest job. God takes care of the preparing the ground in His garden.
The Holy Spirit works the ground so to speak(the heart) in each person’s life. The closest we come to that job is when the light of Jesus to shines forth so others can see it.
We, however, must plant the seed, which is the Word of God. Jesus told a parable about a farmer sowing the seed. He mentioned nothing about not sowing it. He said the farmer put it in all soils.
- “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field,
- Some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.
- Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died.
- Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.
- Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Matthew 13:3-8
The point to His story is we must plant the seed everywhere. Remember God will gave the increase. And I want you to know that God continually gives the increase.
Jesus told His disciples the day when they stood at the well in Samaria that He needs harvesters. And He will reward them handsomely.
The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. John 4:35-36
Begin to Harvest, the Fields are Ripe!
So plant and water for the kingdom even though you may not see that harvest. Just like we will harvest souls that others have planted and watered. It’s a job we must do until Jesus comes back.
I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” John 4:38
Lord, help us to see that the fields are ripe for harvest. And also to understand the urgency of how you have called us to be harvesters for your kingdom.
Check out this related post to the Fields are Ripe unto Harvest. You Harvest What You Plant
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