Sizzlin’ Summer: How to Have a Harvest Mindset
It is all too easy to think that today is not the day for something amazing to happen. However, God is a God of great and marvelous things, and he leads us into situations that can impact others in a deep and meaningful way. Oftentimes, we as Christians assume that no one wants to hear about Jesus, but that’s not the true issue; it isn’t that the lost aren’t ready to hear, it’s that the saved aren’t willing to tell them about Jesus and the change he has brought to our lives.
God gives us divine appointments – but we have to be on the lookout for them. When we come across someone who is searching for something more, it can be all too easy to say to ourselves, “They’re not ready to hear about Jesus from me.” But what if they are? What if God brought you to this person so that you could shine the light of Jesus into his or her life? Matthew 9:36–38 (NLT) says: “When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” We have to be willing to go out into our world and share with others as God prompts us.
Let’s look at the Greek word ekballō. Ekballō means to “send out” but can also be translated as “thrust out.” It could even refer to workers already in the field who “need to have a fire lit under them to thrust them out of their comforts into the world of need.” Allowing God to “ekballō” us out into our area – our own personal mission field – can be a daunting thing, but it can make a huge difference in the lives we touch. Romans 10:13–15 (NLT) states: “For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’ But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!'”
Calling on Him isn’t the problem. Believing in Him isn’t the problem. Hearing about Him isn’t the problem. Not telling them about Jesus is. So, how can we intentionally go out and share the hope that we have with those around us? Here are three practical ways we can open ourselves up to the divine appointments our Father has for us:
- Look for divine appointments. Jesus looked for divine appointments wherever he went. John 4:3-4 (NLT) says: “So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria on the way.” It wasn’t that there wasn’t another way to their destination – Jesus knew that the woman at the well would be there, waiting to hear about the hope she so desperately needed. We have to look for those appointments as we go about our daily activities; sometimes the most powerful appointments happen when and where we least expect them to.
- Don’t assume people aren’t ready. John 4:27 (TPT) says: “At that moment the disciples returned and were stunned to see Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman.” The disciples weren’t expecting a Samaritan to be receptive to what Jesus had to share, but the woman at the well was so ready. How many opportunities to share about Jesus do we miss because we assume those around us just aren’t ready? We cannot allow doubts to get in the way of sharing the truth with those around us.
- This is a hard one. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Let’s face it: we’re going to be uncomfortable at some point when we step out in faith to show others the hope of Jesus Christ. That’s okay. If we have to be uncomfortable in order to help others hear about what our Savior has done for us, so be it.
John 4:35-36 (TPT) says: As the crowds emerged from the village, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Why would you say, “The harvest is another four months away?”‘ Look at all the people coming—now is harvest time! For their hearts are like vast fields of ripened grain—ready for a spiritual harvest. And everyone who reaps these souls for eternal life will receive a reward. And those who plant spiritual seeds and those who reap the harvest will celebrate together with great joy!” While it is sometimes uncomfortable to step out of our safe little bubbles and venture out into the unknown in order to share Jesus with others, it is eternally worthwhile.
Three Practical Takeaways to Help You in the Field You Have Been Sent To
- Use what you have in the field you’ve been given. Don’t say to yourself, “Oh, I’m not in ministry – I can’t reach them.” You absolutely can in the field you have been given. God can use you whether you’re an executive, a waiter, or a mom at home. You are uniquely equipped to reach certain individuals, and He will send you out – ekballō you – to the people who need to hear from you.
- Share your story. There are few things quite as powerful as a testimony of God’s goodness in your life. It doesn’t have to be dramatic to reach someone, either. God knows who needs to hear from you today – let Him lead you to the people you need to make contact with. When we allow God to light that fire underneath us, there’s no telling what He will do with our stories.
- Invite them to church. You may not think that coworker is ready, but what if he is just waiting for the invitation? You might be nervous about asking your neighbor to come to a women’s night at church, but what if she’s waiting for you to ask her? The number one way that individuals in the United States get saved is by getting invited to a church service.
Jesus said, “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest” (John 4:35 NLT). It’s time for us to wake up and go into the fields; the harvest is ready and waiting. You were made for a time and place such as this, and your story can bring others to Jesus. That has eternal value.