What makes a ripe harvest field? Many of us are living in comfortable suburban homes, and we assume that our neighborhoods will make a great harvest field. But we may be trying to reap a harvest in the wrong places. Jesus gave some indication of what makes a ripe harvest. For example, he said:
"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…" (Luke 4:18)
Where will we find these people? They are much more likely to be found in the low-income housing projects than amongst the wealthy. They are more likely to be found in AA groups than in success seminars. In our neighborhoods, where is the couple going through a divorce? How about the family going through bankruptcy? Do you know people who are hurting?
Others who are often open to the message of the Kingdom include New Agers, young people, those living on the streets, or in half-way houses, refugees etc.
Jesus also said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
Where will we find people who know they are "sinners"?
Obviously we need to be open to wherever the Holy Spirit is leading us, but as a general rule, we are more likely to find hungry people in places where we are not necessarily comfortable. As Neil Cole says, we need to learn to sit in the smoking section."
Another thought: No farmer would consider trying to harvest a field where no seed had been sown. What does it look like to sow seed? Hint. The seed of the kingdom is the word of God (Luke 8:11).
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7 replies on “Core competencies: Recognizing a ripe harvest field”
it may not be related but this came to mind as I read your post.
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow;
25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed?
27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
Stephen, I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this. Can you amplify?
Like I said, it may not be related. I do want to think about it some more, though. I don’t have any coherent thoughts on this to share right now. God bless you.
My wife and I were watching “Obsessed” on TV last night and wondering how these people would find their way to a traditional church and even if they did how they would be welcomed and even if they were welcomed how long would it take before they would start to experience the love of an authentic Christian community. Weeks at best, I guessed, compared to one gathering of a simple church.
Sorry, maybe I didn’t complete the thought, the point, I guess, being that not only do churches not attract or reach the well-fertilized people, we don’t know what to do with them when they do come.
Dan, isn’t that the truth! In some churches the really well-fertilized people may not even be welcome–they don’t smell right, look right etc. It’s easier for us to cope without them.
Thanks so much for posting these, they are fantastic! So bummed I missed what looks like a truly unique evening.