After our early morning wake-up call, Tony and I started praying through the book of Haggai.
The context of Haggai is that the first wave of Jews have returned from captivity in Babylon, but, apart from an initial spurt of activity in which the foundations of the temple were laid, nothing more has been done to build the temple in almost 20 years.
So God tells the Jewish leaders, through the prophet Haggai that all the problems they face (poor crops, drought, more bills than money at the end of the month) are because building their own homes is more important to them than building God's house.
At one point, Haggai tells the leaders :
"This is what the Lord of hosts says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.’”
"You know what this verse reminds me of," Tony said, as we prayed over this verse yesterday evening. "The passage where Jesus tells the disciples:
You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!" (John 4: 35-36)
"God led us so clearly to this passage, so are we in the simple/organic church movement saying this too?" I commented."Lord, as soon as we've built community, as soon as we're more mature, as soon as life quietens down, as soon as…, then we'll reach out to our neighbors."
Jesus says the harvest is ready now, just as God told the leaders of the Jews in the book of Haggai, "Now is the time to build my house."
John chapter 15 is all about producing fruit:
When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples (verse 8).
I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name (verse 16).
We usually take these verses in John 15 to talk about having a Christ-like character–the fruit of the Spirit. But according to John 4, the fruit we are to produce is people brought to eternal life.
It's time for us to wake up and see the harvest.
What do you think?