Sunday 8 November 2015
Speaker: Pastor Austen Ukachi
“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bring his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5,6).
“He who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame” (Proverbs 10:5).
We all look forward to the harvest season; a day when we reap the seeds we have sown, and when we reap the reward of our labours. In life, workers look forward to the pay day when they will receive their cheques. Athletes look forward to a time when they will be awarded a trophy. Sports men and women alike look forward to when they will be crowned. The Bible talks about “seed time and harvest.” This is an irreversible divine law God has enacted. Harvest can never take place unless it is preceded by seedtime. This is the month of November; farmers are beginning to harvest their crops. It is a reward time for those farmers who have worked hard. In the words of Ecclesiastes 3: 2, there is the time to sow and there is the time to pluck what has been sown.
RUTH: FROM BITTERNESS TO THE HARVEST FIELD
Many of the stories in the Bible were written against the background of an agrarian society and therefore, they teach us some vital lessons about the harvest. For instance, Ruth returned back from Moab to Bethlehem at the time of harvest and quickly got into the field of harvest (Ruth 1:22-2:3). She left Moab in emptiness and bitterness to Bethlehem, a place of abundance and harvest. Like Naomi who said, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me,” our past experiences in the year may have been bitter, but God is about to change our experiences to a pleasant one; he wants us to step into the harvest field and reap the harvest. God is saying, harvest time is here with us, let us go into the field and gather the harvest. To gather in the harvest, we must move past our bitter experiences and like Ruth boldly go into the field of harvest field. Once Ruth returned to Bethlehem, she set out to glean in the harvest field. Little did she know the amount of harvest that was awaiting her. Like Ruth, a great harvest lies ahead of us!
DIFFERENT KINDS OF HARVEST
There are different kinds of harvest: there is the harvest of souls, there is the harvest of our efforts and labour, there is the harvest of our financial seeds, there is the harvest of our prayers, there is the harvest of love, there is the harvest of blessings, there is the harvest of the fruit of patience, there is the harvest of the deeds of faith, etc. Today, I want us to focus on the harvest of souls.
This year, many of us have sown in prayers and tears, many have tithed, others have sown to missions, yet others have obediently worked in various ways. God is not unmindful of all these efforts. God said, I should announce to you that there is a reward ahead of you. In Haggai 2:19, for long the seeds of the children of Israel lay dormant in the barn, but when the foundation of the new temple was being laid, God said to them the time had come for their seeds to begin to yield fruit. There comes a time when the blessings of God causes the dormant seed to begin to yield fruit, if we take steps to sow the seeds. “Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.”
In Joel 2:22-27, after a period of judgments, God began to assure the beasts of the field and the children of Zion that the period of drought and judgments will soon be
over, and the harvest time will soon set in. He promised to send the rain and bring about a restoration.
CHRIST’S TEACHINGS ON THE HARVEST
In John 4:32-38, Jesus taught about the harvest. Again, in Matthew 8:37, he declared that the harvest is plentiful. He warned his disciples against procrastination. Rather, he encouraged them to boldly enter into the field for the harvest. From the ministry of Jesus, we learn that there are some essential ingredients of the harvest. First, is compassion. Unless we have the compassion for men who are lost in sin, we cannot reach out to bring them to Christ. Secondly, we must pray to the Lord of the harvest to release the men and to give us the harvest. Thirdly, we must work in partnership with the Holy Spirit, the Lord of the harvest.
A BROKEN WORLD
We live in a broken world that is full of injustice, needs and pain. God has called us to bring comfort and succor to those who live in pain and hopelessness. Each day, we hear about one form of tragedy and disaster or another. Increasingly, rate of crime, divorce, deaths, unemployment, drug addiction, to mention a few are on a steady rise. Victims of all these social problems need a message of hope and comfort. We need to reach out to them.
To reap the harvest we must look beyond ourselves to the needs of others. We must arise and reach out to those around us. The harvest field is all around us and ripe. Like Jesus commanded, let us arise and move into the field of harvest to bring in souls.