The title for this short article could have been “dealing with our feelings about a small harvest.” Imagine if we were to discuss face-to-face, “What problems are there with the harvest in my area?” We likely would spend much time discussing issues related to the small size of the harvest. Instead, what if we were soon talking about issues and difficulties caused by an amazingly ripe and plentiful harvest!
In the last few posts, we have been looking at mindset shifts that need to happen if we are to see the release of Disciple Making Movements. One of these is changing our mindset from thinking “my people group or area is too resistant to see a DMM.” Instead, we must embrace what Jesus told His disciples. The harvest is ripe in every people group.
Some people have the joy of seeing much fruit when it comes to reaching unreached people. They struggle with difficult issues related to many people rapidly coming to Christ in their location. What a privilege this kind of struggle and pain is!
For many faithful laborers, however, the struggle associated with a plentiful and fruitful harvest seems far away.
Harvest Is a Theme of Scripture
Fruitfulness and multiplication are one of the most repeated themes in Scripture. Check it out. How many times does the Bible mention fruit or harvest? It’s a lot!
Starting with Adam, then in the promise made to Abraham, through the Book of Revelation, we see the repeated theme of multiplication. There are descriptions of people from every tribe and nation before the throne of God. What do we do with this theme of multiplication and fruitfulness in Scripture, when we face what appears to be a hard and barren field?
Are the Fields Ripe for Harvest?
Getting a little personal now, I can easily think that the ground is hard and the harvest is not ripe in my region. After all, my focus is a large Muslim majority country.
There is Islamic law in several areas with brutal consequences for openly sharing the gospel. There are private jihad armies that occasionally kill a few hundred and at times thousands of Christians. We face unconstitutional religious and ethnic cleansing in other areas, deep cultural bondages, and the list goes on.
If I follow my feelings about a hard harvest field, then maybe I should just go home. I can live a life of prayer and wait until God does something. Do you ever wonder about that?
There came a point in my own journey where I had to admit that I had built up a list of excuses. I’d adopted wrong thinking about the field and about harvest in my location. My underlying beliefs/feelings affected my perceptions of reality about the field. They also impacted my faith level. I struggled to train others for harvest. I was more comfortable training and then sending workers into the fields to sow than expected they would reap.
What Do You See?
What do you see in your focus location; hard dirt fields, or a ready harvest of lost people waiting for the good news of our Savior?
I was stuck seeing hard empty fields. Jesus though, speaking about the Samaritans in John 4:35-36, said “the harvest is ripe or ready”. They were ready, even though they were yet to be evangelized. The peoples and nations of the earth are ripe for harvest. The question is – what do you see?
Sowing the seed of the message of Jesus is part of the harvesting process. We must be careful not to separate these two. If you want to harvest, there must be sowing. If you sow, there must be harvesting. They go together. Even when the soil outwardly looks hard.
Don’t Let Thieves Steal Your Hope
Disciple Making Movements are about finding a way to engage with what looks like a hard dirt field. Our feelings about a small harvest or a “not-yet-ripe” harvest can be like a thief or robber. These feelings can leave us in a state of unbelief. These feelings, or even excuses, often came knocking at the door of my heart. I felt defeated. On a good day, I was only mildly optimistic. God graciously exposed my unbelief and helped me repent and change my thinking.
Perhaps these feelings and thoughts are yours too.
- Recognize them for what they are. Don’t welcome or allow them to take up residence in your heart and mind.
- Repent and ask the Holy Spirit to release faith into your heart to see things as He sees them.
- Meditate on, or memorize the scripture above. Let its truth shape your thinking rather than your past experiences or feelings.
If you are in pain and disappointment because of a small harvest, or even no harvest, acknowledge it. Then, realign your beliefs away from seeing fields that are hard and empty to what God’s Word says about the fields. The statement by Jesus that the “harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” is difficult to get around. Believe Him. The nations are ready.
*This is a guest post written by Rej Mack.