Summary: Part 4 of a series of sermons preached in Anjug, South Korea to fan the flame for evangelism and encourage for revival
Last week we look at a similar verse in John 4 which said 'the fields are ripe for the harvest', and we said that harvest time was the END of the growing season for crops, and at harvest the fruits just need to be picked and collected.
No more watering, no more weeding, no more whatever else you need to do to grow crops, it's just time to gather in!
And while Jesus was saying to His disciples then 'Look, the fields are ripe for the harvest', meaning of course that the people were ready for salvation, we asked the question 'Is Anjung ripe for the harvest NOW?' Are the people here ready to enter the Kingdom of God?
And we didn't answer that question last week but rather I asked you to answer it by asking 3 people 'Do you want to know about Jesus' and based on their responses we could gage where Anjung stands ? Are we in the harvest? Or is there still work to be done?
So, first of all, did anybody ask 3 people over this week do they want to know about Jesus? How many said 'Yes' and how many said 'No'?
If more than 2 out of 3 said 'Yes' then the harvest is here! Pray for labourers to help with the gathering and just go out there and tell people about Jesus! They are ready! Their hearts have been prepared! The Holy Spirit has gone before us and the work has been done and the harvest is ready!!!
If not, if less than 2 out of 3 said no then the harvest isn't quite ready yet! The season isn't quite upon us!
'The harvest is plentiful'!
It may not be the picking time yet, the fields may not yet be white, but the crops are plentiful! And plentiful harvest is different to a ripe harvest!
What do I mean? I mean this. We have an apple tree back home in our garden, and each year, at the start of spring, when the leaves start to grow and the apples begin to form you can see what kind of harvest you're going to get from that tree.
Sometimes there would only be 1 or 2 apples, and you know, unless you go out, buy some apples and stick them on the tree with glue, at harvest time you're not getting much! Just 2!
But other times, there will be 20 or 30 apples beginning to form and you know right then, if your diligent, the harvest from that tree is going to be plentiful!
And that's what Jesus is saying to us today! Maybe no one said 'Yes' when we asked 'do they want to know about Jesus?' All that means is that we're not in the harvest period yet! But, the harvest is plentiful! There is a great crop growing!
As long as we are diligent and look after the crop, the harvest WILL be plentiful! But there is work to be done!
'...but the labourers are few' labouring is HARD work! It's tiring work! When I left school I began an apprenticeship with a builder, and I began as what is called the labourer. This is the very bottom! This is the guy who carries all the heavy stuff, mixed all the cement and plaster, cleans the tools, scrubs the cement mixer and all the other stuff.
I remember one time when building a house I had to carry 18 ton of sand from the front to the back using just 2 buckets, and it took all day! It was hard work!
And so too is farming, to carry on Jesus' analogy. Imagine one day you just decide to move down south, buy some land and become a farmer. What are the steps you would take from that first day until harvest?
Well, first you have to find a piece of land. Then you have to cut and clear whatever is growing on top, then plough it to make it ready and then plant the seed. And that's just the start!
Then you've got to fertilize the land, water it, check for weeds and all that. You've got to protect the seeds and the crop as it begins to grow from the birds and other insects that will come and try to eat them. And some times, and if you've ever driven past the pear farm down the road, you'll see that eat individual pear on the trees had been individually wrapped to protect it!
It's hard work! And you've got to keep doing that right up until harvest!
And it's the same in God's field! There will be weeds, there will be birds, there will be rocky ground and if these things aren't taken care of the crops will die and there will be NO harvest! Remember the Parable of the Sower?