35 Do you not say, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps. ’ John 4:35-37 (NKJV)
I believe I miss most of these moments. These are the times on the journey when I am thinking of everything but ministry. The journey is the task and I am just staying afloat. I am tired, worn and weary. I just want to take care of business and move on. I am trying to tell Jesus what I need and what He needs to do, just like the disciples.
Here they are journeying from Judea to Galilee this is a walking road trip and they are in foreign territory and not particularly nice foreign territory. It is the country of the Samaritans—“wrong section of town”… The disciples have just picked up a few bags of potato chips and 13 cans of pop. They are ready to hit the road again before anybody asks where they are headed.
But they find Jesus in the “parking lot” wrapping up a conversation with a woman. She leaves as the disciples approach and starts an animated conversation with a group of nearby men. It’s a little strange, but no one says anything except to offer Jesus a snack. They are hoping He eats quickly so they can leave before the woman returns for the water jug she left standing there. The riff raff in the convenience store are starting to glance in the direction of Jesus as the woman is talking to them. It appears they could be rushing out shortly.
Jesus refuses to eat. He is watching the locals and there is a wonderful light in His eyes. He appears energetic and refreshed and He comments that He has a stash of food they aren’t aware of. Next He tells them His food is to do the will of His Father and to accomplish His work.
So much for a quick snack. The disciples were sure they were focused on the right thing, the journey. There is a destination to reach. But it is here that Jesus showed them the Spiritual reality they were overlooking.
Here is where I miss it as well. I think I know exactly what is needed for the moment. I assess the situation, advise God how to proceed and… He tells me to look up. I didn’t even know I was looking down. He tells me to “lift up my eyes” and I see His face.
WOW! That will break a man. To see the love and purity in His eyes and the glory of His holiness, will stop a man mid thought and bring His pride to the ground. “Lift up your eyes…” “You guys have a saying right? You have been saying there are still four more months and then the harvest. There are still more miles to travel and then ministry in Galilee, but ‘Lift up your eyes.’”
Jesus goes on to say, “I have sent you to reap a harvest in a field where you did not work; others worked there, and you profit from their work.” (Joh 4:38 GNB) The following verses of the narrative go on to describe a great harvest of believers in that place.
This story strikes me with the fact that the journey is the mission. I don’t know exactly when the Father’s Business calls me to step into the work of another person and help with the Harvest, but it often happens on the journey from one ministry location to another. The disciples were guilty of my mistake, and thought the journey was an interlude between ministry locations. They nearly missed a harvest because they were so focused on getting from point “A” to point “B”.
“Lift up your eyes” today on whatever journey you are on. Perhaps in seeing the face of Jesus you will see your coworkers in a different light. Perhaps you will see the traffic, which normally frustrates you as a harvest of prayer. Or, you may find your trip to the store for groceries or whatever becomes ministry by a “well in Samaria.” Lift up your eyes.
I know personally, that being about my Father’s business looks different from being about my own business.
Pray for grace to be able to LIFT OUR EYES and see Jesus and His heart. Pray for grace to take time for the Harvest. “Galilee” will still be there.