March 25: Evangelism
Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you – 2 Thessalonians 3:1
Paul was given a thorn in the flesh as a reminder of his weakness and through this he learned very well that his strength was in Christ, not in himself. He did not consider himself on a level above others; he desired the prayers of the most humble member of the church. In his first epistle to the Thessalonians he had asked simply, “Brethren, pray for us,” and here he asks that they should pray for the success of the gospel….
Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest – John 4:35
Soon after beginning his public ministry, Jesus turns to his small band of disciples and speaks these words. He goes out of his way to grab the attention of his listeners before making a simple statement. "Behold. I am telling you. Lift up your eyes. Look." Why all this prelude to making his point?
Because Jesus knows his disciples, and we still today, will have trouble perceiving the reality he is describing! It is hard for us to see and believe sometimes that the fields of Christian service are full and ripe, when we feel tired, empty, and barren. It is precisely because the fields do not always look ripe that Jesus tells us, "Believe me, they are!"
So, weary and disheartened mother—trying to train your children in the way of the Lord and yet not seeing the heart-fruit you’d like to—behold! Jesus is speaking to you, telling you something! Lift up your eyes! Look! The field of your family is ripe for harvesting. Likewise, if you are a spouse with an unbelieving mate, a pastor in a small congregation, or an evangelistic co-worker who does not see any converts in the workplace — do not grow weary in your worthy labor.
The fields are white to harvest because this world is full of fatally sick people, and yet Jesus is able to heal even our greatest sickness. He is able to forgive our sins and cleanse our souls.
The harvest is ripe because Jesus is Lord. May we marvel ourselves, then, at the power and authority of Jesus over the sickness, and sin, and Satanic influences in this world; and may we then take the good news of Jesus Christ to the world, seeing with eyes of faith that the harvest is ripe even now.
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