“Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” John 4:35b
I don’t know about you, but I am one of those focused people. When I get started on a task, I become a different person. Ask my children or my husband! I see only that task and everything else becomes side-lined. My family is left to fend for themselves for meals. The laundry piles up. The dishes stack in the sink. Why? Because my focus is on that ONE important thing. It consumes me until I get it done. Then, only afterwards, I come out of the haze and start picking up the pieces.
Jesus in John 4:35 is challenging the disciples, to lift their eyes from the harvest (the work) they are seeing just before them and to focus on something bigger. Their focus was too narrow and it was impeding their vision and service.
We are in all in danger, both those working in full-time ministry and those who are not, to become so focused in what we are doing that we lose sight of the greater harvest that is white and ready to be brought in.
Each of us has been given a portion of the harvest field to work in.
Maybe your harvest field is a troop of small children. Your focus can become so consumed with changing diapers and wiping noses all day, that it’s easy to lose sight of what God is doing in and through you. It might just be one of those little ones who have turned YOUR world upside down will one day go out and turn THE WORLD upside down!
Maybe you are a full-time professional. Your work can consume your focus so much so, that the fact that there are lost coworkers all around you, gets lost like your latest report in the piles of papers that clutter your desk.
Or, maybe you are an overseas missionary (yes, they can be the biggest culprits in failing to lift up their eyes!) You have become so focused on working your little part of the harvest field, that you have lost sight of the bigger picture and what God is doing in other parts of the world.
How does lifting up our eyes help us?
It gives us perspective to our work and helps us to see the bigger picture – there is a lot more going on then just in our little space! We see the places where there are no workers and where there are an abundance of workers. We see where the work is moving fast and moving slow. We see how our little part fits into the bigger part of what God is accomplishing in the harvest fields. And perhaps more importantly, it keeps us from becoming overwhelmed with the problems that plague our harvest field or proud of the accomplishments that spill out of it.
It helps us remember that we do not labor alone, but that we are part of a bigger team. With eyes focused down we can easily become overwhelmed with the task before us and feel all alone. But, when we lift our eyes, we see not only a sea of other laborers working along side us, but we also see those who have gone before us and know that with time, the task is doable. Lifting our eyes also means that we can see other works and call out to them in encouragement, to pray for them, to go over and lend a hand when they are tired. More than anything it reminds us that we are part of something bigger, the body of Christ, the church. Through it, God is accomplishing His work of wining souls to Himself in His fields of harvest.
It helps us to get direction from the Master – are we laboring where we should? How we should? Does He want to move us, expand our harvest field? What new opportunities does He have for you in the harvest fields? We won’t find out if we never look up to Him and see what He has for us.
Truly, the fields are white unto harvest. We get the amazing privilege of partnering with the Master in seeing the harvest brought in.
Take a minute, straighten your back and stand up, lift your eyes and take a long look around you.
Remind yourself what part of the field He has given to you. How does it fit into the bigger harvest field? Are you working it well? Turn from side to side and see if there any fellow-harvesters needing help, encouragement, prayer. Find the Master and catch His eye. Ask Him if there is anything more He has for you to do in His field. Then, pick up the sickle and begin again – serving with all your might in His harvest fields.
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