20 August 2020

Look at the Fields

“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
John 4:35 (NIV) 

The English novelist and poet, Kingsley Amis, in his offering of 1963 entitled One Fat Englishman, described a character thus: “He was of the faith: chiefly in the sense that the church he currently did not attend was Catholic.”

This typically wry comment from Amis curiously reminded me of my early ‘wilderness years.’ And not only of myself, but most of those I numbered as my friends. If I had been asked by someone ‘what I was‘, my reply was Church of Ireland/Protestant. The reasons for this reply would have been as follows: My mother sent me there to join the Boys Brigade and get Confirmed (whatever that meant). They had a good badminton club, of which I became one of its most ardent members (O happy days!). My mother, a woman of infinite wisdom, considered it a means of keeping me ‘out of harms way.’

You will have noticed that deep Christian conversion and piety did not occupy prime consideration. I wonder how many individuals find themselves in a similar position today? They identify with a denomination they were born into, but have no real sense of belonging or activity in it. Perhaps there are more people, even in our own ‘well-churched’ wee country, who may be receptive to a clear, encouraging, and hopeful message particularly in these dark days.

In our header scripture, Jesus says to open our eyes and look at the fields that are ripe for the harvest; he here is advising that things can sometimes be assumed to be fruitless when the opposite is the case. Elijah assumed he was alone in his prophetic calling and was about to be killed. All the signs were not good. However, the Lord told him “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).

Let’s be encouraged in our combined work to live out our faith and perhaps we too shall be surprised what our Lord and Master can perform.

Father in Heaven, your eyes see the ripe spiritual fields in this present world. Open our eyes to see where we can help in the harvest.

Study by Bob Beggs


About the Author:
Bob Beggs is an Elder and member of the Pastoral Council at Grace Communion Lisburn, in Northern Ireland.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Lisburn
Ballymacbrennan School House
129A Saintfield Road
BT27 5PG

Meeting time:
Sunday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
Bob Beggs
Phone:  Mobile 07836 613 686
Email: bobbeggs@hotmail.com

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