by Kelsey Knobloch
The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. – Mark 4:26-27
It’s getting hotter and hotter. Summer is really here. As much as I hate sweating, there are definitely some good parts to it as well. Gardens are in full bloom, with more produce than anyone knows what to do with. Our little garden beds at home are getting flush with jalapenos and tomatoes, with plenty of other things on the way. By far and above, my favorite has always been berries, and especially blackberries. I haven’t put any in our garden yet (though there are some wild bushes in the forest behind my house that I’ve got my eye on), but I was invited by a friend to come pick blackberries a couple weeks ago.
I managed to put more into my bucket than I ate, though it was a struggle! Digging through the vines to find the ripe berries, my friend commented how strange it was that sometimes one berry of the bunch would ripen before all the rest, while others would be the exact opposite: all ripe, with one berry needing just a little bit more time. Which got me thinking.
How often is it that we need just a little more time? We hear week after week about how we should live our faith and do God’s work, but we’re just not quite ready. We’ll invite our neighbor or co-worker to worship with us next week. We’ll help with the next service project. We’ll donate next time.
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'” – Matthew 9:37-38
Picking blackberries can’t wait. Leaving them on the vine leaves them open to birds and bugs, rot and pests. In Jesus’ time, everyone knew about growing and harvests. It was a part of everyday life. There wasn’t a grocery store to pick up a loaf of bread or some fish; you harvested grain yourself. The parable hits a little closer to home if it’s something you deal with daily.
For us, it’s just as imperative as it was back then. The people are ready now. The harvest is plentiful now. The workers remain few. It’s not a matter of helping next week or next time an opportunity comes up. It’s time. Now. As Christians, we’re called to enter the harvest field, to save eternal souls, regardless of whether or not it’s convenient. It doesn’t matter if we want to do it later, we can start today.
And what happens when we can’t? As long as we live in a sinful world, there will be things that stop us. Whether it’s invisible illnesses like anxiety or depression, money issues with personal finances, or a true lack of time, the devil works in many and varied ways to stop God’s message from reaching those in need. While I was away a few Sundays ago, I visited a church in Virginia where the pastor shared a rather compelling message. He spoke about this very thing: when life gets too hard to do what God has asked of us, and what we do in response. We come back to the Light of Christ.
When you feel like you can’t do it: You’re too busy, you don’t have the right gifts, someone else will do it, you don’t have the time, I’ll just write a check…You come back to the Light. – Pastor Bill Harmon
God is the Light to shine in our lives, the light we are meant to reflect to anyone and everyone on His behalf. The Light to end all darkness, the light we have in ourselves thanks to the Holy Spirit. When it gets dark, we go to the Light. When we feel weak, we go to the Light. When the devil works his very hardest, we go to the Light.
The harvest can’t wait. If you’re feeling worn out, you come to the light, and then you get back into the field. You have the Light of Christ, the Light that removes all obstacles and provides hope, healing, and comfort. Why would you not let it shine? The world needs that light. The fields are ripe and harvest waiting. Get out there.
Hark, the voice of Jesus calling,
Who will go and work today?
Fields are ripe and harvests waiting,
Who will bear the sheaves away?
Long and loud the Master calls us,
Rich reward He offers free;
Who will answer, gladly saying,
Here am I, send me, send me?
Let none hear you idly saying,
There is nothing I can do.
While the lost of earth are dying,
And the Master calls for you;
Take the task He gives you gladly;
Let His work your pleasure be;
Answer quickly when He calls you,
Here am I, send me, send me.
Hark the Voice of Jesus Calling, verses 1 & 4