Be Alert!!! The Harvest Is Ripe

Evangelism. Does anyone else feel like you never quite measure up when it comes to sharing the gospel?  I’m convinced of the importance of evangelism and I’m deeply moved by stories of people coming to Christ – and yet I still struggle to share the gospel regularly. What would it take to make evangelism a natural and regular part of our Christian lives?

Jesus often describes our mission with the metaphor of a harvest. In Matthew and Luke he says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37-38; Luke 10:2). In similar words, Jesus tells his disciples in John 4:35: “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” Here’s what I want you to notice: if Jesus is sending the disciples and us into the harvest, then someone has already prepared the field.  Implication? You and I are surrounded by people already ripe for the gospel. In our grocery stores, on our sports teams, besides us at our coffee shops, or next-door in our neighborhoods, there are people God is preparing to respond to the gospel. Do you believe that?

I’m convinced that one thing that keeps us from sharing the gospel is the unspoken belief that it all depends on us. I need to find someone to share the gospel with. I need to have the right words to say. It’s as though we think God gives us a barren piece of ground and says, “Grow me a crop of wheat.” But God is already at work to prepare the harvest! We follow in his footsteps. The restaurant you choose, the gym you join, or the Starbucks you frequent are not random choices or events in your life. Each one is God preparing and positioning you in his field for his harvest. Our call is to do what Jesus said: “Look, lift up your eyes and see.”

Let me suggest just one way we can live in the Lord’s fields. If it’s true that God is at work to prepare the harvest, that the fields are ripe because of his work, and if it’s true that God has made each one of us workers in his field, then be alert for small windows of opportunity. Only once in my life has an unbelieving stranger asked me a direct question about God. Every other opportunity I’ve had to share the gospel and build friendships with unbelievers came through what seemed like a small thing: giving a pedestrian a ride up a steep hill, asking the checkout lady how her day is going, saying hello to a person instead of passing without acknowledgement. Look for those small opportunities that the Lord gives you, and expect some of them to lead to more conversations.

Wherever you are, the Lord of the harvest is already preparing his field and has you there for a purpose. Lift up your eyes and see! The harvest is ripe.

  • Starla Tracy

    This type of evangelism may appeal to churchmen who want roses of ease instead of suffering with Christ. Friendship evangelism is no where employed by Jesus nor His disciples in the scriptures. Shouldn't we follow their model for evangelism? We read that they reasoned with people out of the law & prophets. The Biblical law is a schoolmaster that points people to Christ their only hope. It is a mirror that shows us our wicked Adamic heart problem so that we will flee to Jesus who will clean us on the inside and give us a new heart. (Ezekial 36:24-28)
    The common expression by rebellious sinners to stop the Word of God is this: "But Jesus was friends with sinners" (in other words, so you don't need to say anything about 'sin'). No Jesus did not hang out with impenitent sinners. He came to seek and save His sheep, the elect and those where who He directly went to seek out while He walked this earth.
    The Bible explains why sinners are not going to come to you and ask questions about God! They "do not seek after God", "There is none good, no not one" The doctrines of Total Depravity & Original Sin explain this. Jesus explained this. Man is DEAD in his trespasses and sin, spiritually DEAD which means they do not care about spiritual things. They are in rebellion against their Creator as Romans 1:18 tells us. You MUST go to them and speak the words of life & eternity.
    Stephen I think you are well meaning but it surely is much easier to talk about evangelism on blogs rather than pick up your cross, die to self, and actually share the Biblical law & Gospel with people as the disciples did. Jesus said you will be hated by all men for My Name sake. That doesn't sound like much fun. To truly love people is to confront them about their depravity by sharing the bad news and point them to their only hope, Jesus the Christ, the good news for sinners!

    • Starla Tracy

      oops, I should have addressed this to the writer~ Josh Blount.

      Jesus took His disciples out and taught them through experience. I think it would do you good to go out with other Christians to share the Biblical law & Gospel with people. You will realize it isn't so bad after all :) After the first time it does get easier.

      We can read about plowing fields, we can talk about plowing fields, but until we actually get out and plow those fields we won't really have a knowledge of it.

      • Josh

        Starla,

        Thanks for your thoughts, and for taking the time to read my post! And yes, you can lay this one at my feet, not Stephen's :)

        I think there's a lot we would agree on! I agree that evangelism will never be without suffering in some form. There is a deep and profound principle at work there: our suffering and sometimes death leads to gospel life for the lost. I also agree that sinners do not seek God or us, and that we must go to them. And I agree it would certainly do me good to get out and share the gospel more :)

        However, I believe we would differ in making an absolute distinction between "friendship evangelism" and "message/proclamation evangelism." I'm familiar with the debates over which method is more biblical, but would humbly submit that "either/or" should be a "both/and." If we only befriend the lost and never speak the gospel, they will remain lost and blinded to their sin. But if we only proclaim the message and never genuinely love the lost, whether through a long-standing friendship or through a brief but genuine "how are you doing?", they won't experience God's love mediated through us. I want to be a "both/and" person!

        Thanks again for your thoughts. If you feel it would serve to discuss the issue more, please contact me by email (you can find my address at http://www.lfcwv.org).

        Josh