Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Urgency in the Reaping
PREPARING FOR THE HARVEST
Terry R. Baughman
“Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35).
The late hour and the immensity of the harvest demand participation of all available workers. There is no excuse for loitering in the marketplace. There should be no lack of employment when there is no end to the resources available and no shortage of opportunities for engagement. The harvest is the entire focus of our vision and the obsession of all activity.
It is possible that we have talked of this day so long we may fail to recognize when the moment of fulfillment has arrived. We have discussed methods and procedures in preparation for the day of harvest, but never considered the immensity of the increase and our total inability to produce enough workers to process the reaping.
The church of the end time can identify with the landowner at the center of the parable of the workers in the marketplace. He found himself seeking workers for his fields throughout the day. From early morning to late afternoon he returned to the market in hopes of finding someone to work the harvest and reap the plentiful produce. Finally, in desperation to beat the darkness in the final hour before sunset he returned to seek more workers. It was recorded that the landowner, “found others standing idle” (Matthew 20:6). Though they complained that no one had hired them He immediately contracted with this last crew, “You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive” (Matthew 20:7).
It is the hour of desperation. There is urgency in the harvest. Now is the time for reaping. We must not allow any to be wasted. It’s time to enlist the idle; conscript the lazy; employ the excuse-maker. Anyone who is able can be used. Anyone willing can assist. Maybe it is time for another visit to the marketplace. Look for the hangouts, the places where the unemployed and unmotivated recline. Find those who for whatever reason have failed to find their place in the field. Motivate them. Persuade them. Convince them to help in the harvest.
Our day is the final hour. It is the time of eleventh hour urgency. Paul’s call is our cry, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Never has the Gospel been so relevant and the message so necessary. Jesus predicted, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). This is the time for which we have waited, the moment of which we have dreamed.
We war against the ticking clock and impending darkness. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). The darkness mocks our efforts and sunset screams, “It’s over,” but we are not done. The night is not here yet. While there is any time left we will strain to see in the dusk and reach for more until there is no more light.
We cannot stop the clock but we can enlist workers, encourage laborers, and join the reapers in the fields. It is all hands on deck. It is time for a concerted effort to evangelize; unite the forces for prayer; teach, train, and advance the kingdom of God by every means possible.
This is an emergency. There is urgency in the reaping!
“Neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7).