One of the highlights of my day is when I saunter out into my backyard and reap from my bountiful tub 'o grub. I usually bring in a colander filled with several varieties of tomatoes, peppers, pears, strawberries, basil, etc. It makes my heart so happy!
A few days ago, when I was plucking some golden-ripe yellow pear tomatoes from the vine, I noticed that there were only a few green fruits left on the plant. I actually felt a fleeting pang of grief as it dawned on my first-time-ever-gardener's brain that the harvest was coming to an end.
One day soon, there would be no more tomatoes to pick.
Before I could distract myself with all the busyness of preserving my produce for the sunless days ahead, I distinctly heard the Lord's still, small voice:
"As it is in the natural, so it is in the spirit. The harvest will come to an end."
My heart was gripped with an urgency I've rarely felt. The Lord didn't specify when the harvest would end or even if would happen in the near future--but I was shaken by the sobering truth that the harvest of souls does come to an end.
So troubling was this thought, that I did a little research on what the Bible says about the harvest. The first verse I looked up said:
The harvest is past, the summer has ended; and we are not saved!" Jeremiah 8:20
Then I read: "Do you not say 'Four months more, and then the harvest!' I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields--they are ripe for harvest!" John 4:35
And: "And He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into His harvest." Luke 10:2b
What did I learn from my little study? First of all, that there is an end to the harvest, both physically and spiritually. Secondly, that we aren't to assume there's always time in the future to "harvest souls"--we must open our eyes and see all the ripe and ready hearts that surround us now.
And finally, This is God's harvest, not ours. If we are faithful to pray, He will direct us in His perfect timing to the ripest fields (sometimes in our own backyards) and teach us His best harvesting methods. It is a partnership that can't fail!
Here am I Lord, send me!