Summary: We are called to go into the harvest fields
A Ripe Harvest
October 5, 2014
Currently we are entering the season of harvest. We are seeing the signs all around us with combines on the roads and in the fields. Fields are turning from green to tan with being ready for harvest. The colors of the seasons are changing. The time of harvest is upon us. Farmers are getting things ready to bring the harvest in from the fields. The window is limited to finish the work.
The harvest is reaping the rewards of sowing the seed. Farmers look forward to the harvest to reap the fruit of their labor. The church needs to be looking to a different kind of harvest, a harvest of spiritual fruit.
We have been working to sow seed in the community by inviting people to come to church. This week we have the opportunity to sow more seed for the hope of a harvest. The reality is if we do not sow, we will not reap.
Now is the time to start sowing for the purpose of reaping.
* We have been sowing – Brown County Fair, Movie Night
* We need to start reaping -
Most people come to church, attend because a friend or family member invited them. Statistics show that only 2% of church attenders extend an invitation once per year. This means that the church misses many opportunities to invite people to join them for church.
"Perhaps one of the most underestimated reasons people return to the church is that someone simply invited them back. 41% of the formerly churched said they would return to the local church if a friend or acquaintance invited them." Outreach Magazine
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Luke 10:1-2
We have been sent to the harvest fields (10:1)
Jesus makes it clear that there is an expectation to go out. He appoints 72 to go into the harvest fields to begin the work of reaping. Notice that Jesus sends these 72 out to every town and every place that He was going to go. Before Jesus could work, He sent the disciples out to prepare the soil and to plant seed. Our work this week is similar, we are to go out into our mission fields.
North America is the largest English speaking mission field in the world.
Where are our mission fields?
* Workplace * Family * Friends * Neighbors * Activities
We have a responsibility to reach out to those around us. Everywhere we go is part of our mission field.
The Harvest is Great
There is going to be harvest in the field of souls and Jesus says that it is plentiful. The term in Greek means large, vast or massive. Jesus is telling the disciples and us that there is a great deal of work to be done because there is massive harvest. The harvest is greater than we can imagine.
I have heard that one of the problems in Mount Orab is that there are too many churches and that is why only a few are large because they reach all of the people. The population of Mount Orab is about 3,600 people and if stats are right, about 80 to 85% are unchurched. This means that there are approximately 2,900 people who don’t go to church. If there are ten churches in the general vicinity of town, to reach everyone who doesn’t go to church, each church would pick up 290 people.
The problem is not the harvest. We have a huge harvest in front of us. Jesus tells us that the problem is the workers. The harvest is massive but the workers are few. Jesus is looking for people who will go into the fields and gather the harvest. We must remember that there is a harvest of souls.
35 Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. John 4:35-38
The need to reach out is urgent
The tendency is to wait for the right time to connect with people. We have a tendency to watch for the moment to reach out to others. Jesus makes it clear that there is no time to waste. He tells the disciples about common thinking about the harvest and the specific time of harvesting. We must never forget that the need of people is urgent.