Say not ye, There are yet 4 months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields: for they are white already unto harvest. John 4:35
An analogy from soccer
One of the things that I found heartbreaking as a supporter of the West Ham United soccer club was that in spite of the fact that they were known to play the most fluid, creative and attractive brand of soccer in the English League (now the Premier League), they never won the championship. Never even came close.
They could make openings, set up great scoring opportunities, and rip open the defenses of their opponents, but somehow not win games enough to really WIN. They would often be beaten by the less fashionable, less skilled Yorkshire and Lancashire clubs, who somehow were able to not merely create chances, but convert them into goals. They could harvest the strategic plays and actually come out a match with something to show for it. Not so much my beloved team.
As you can probably guess where I’m going with this, I won’t need to spend too much time belaboring the point. Of course this is a parable bespeaking spiritual ministry.
I’m sure those of us who desire to minister the transforming power of the Spirit of God, and not just human fleshly good, are searching for answers. Not really winning is disappointing, even if along the way to not winning, a lot of good things happen. The problem in all this is that we may be sitting in the middle of a white harvest field, and experiencing no harvest.
I think that is why Jesus implores us to lift up our eyes to see the white harvest, and to pray to the Lord of the harvest for harvesters.
The first key to spiritual harvest
Spiritual harvest involves one radical thing that is absent in all other process that take place from seedtime on. It is the element of separation. When a fruit is harvested, it needs be separated from the plant that it has hitherto been a part of. The use of a harvesting knife involves cutting or separating the fruit from its original connections. In the old covenant, it was circumcision that signified the separation unto God from every other life source and identity. The lack of this radical separation from the past, the flesh and allegiance in many Christians is a root cause for so many not experiencing an authentic spiritual life that is not of this world. Many are still not radically and spiritually separated from their former life, self-identities, affections, allegiances and orientations.
If the fields are ripe unto harvest, it must mean that there are more people who are ready for this life of extraordinary power than we currently see naturally. But there’s something about our ministry that lacks that fruit. Many of us subsume our ministries under the category of the helping or caregiving professions, not realizing that God has more for His people. What Jesus asks us to pray for is for Harvesters – laborers for the harvest.