03 January 2007

Lift Up Your Eyes

It had been a long day’s travel and all we’re hungry. The disciples had left to find some lunch, leaving Jesus at a well until they returned. Famished and parched, it would have been tempting for Jesus to settle into sleep in the shade and wait until food came. But He had something else on His mind. Gnawing inside Him was the desire to see God glorified in people who were living in vanity and coming toward judgment.

And so despite His hunger and the discomfort of a meeting compounded by barriers—social, religious, gender and historical—between the Jews and Samaritans, Jesus initiated a conversation with a woman taking water from a well. The talk changed her life and transformed her community.

Upon returning from town with lunch, the disciples noted Jesus talking to a woman. Silent but intrigued, the disciples waited then urged Jesus to eat. But He refused, surprising the disciples with these words, “I have food to eat you know nothing about.” He explained, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

Jesus called the disciples to enter into the same diet and to live for Kingdom purposes, “Do not say four more months then harvest. Open your eyes and look at the fields.”

His words reminded the disciples there is far more to life than food and drink—the King has come and is establishing His rule in all peoples—and the time to enter into those labours is now.

The same challenge comes to us in our day. We children of God by faith in Jesus are brought under His rule and are His designated workers in the establishment of His kingdom. With 2007 unfolding, Christ’s words exhort us to remember that the opportunity to serve, to love, to witness, to win souls, is now. The harvest is here, the time is right, the fruit is ripe, ready for the picking. How will we respond?

Will we lift up our eyes? Will we be moved beyond those things which presently occupy our minds, even the necessary things, to see life differently, from the same perspective that God has? When we pray “Your kingdom come,” have we the spiritual sensitivity to know when it has?

Will we look at the fields? Will we find ourselves moved beyond the boundaries of our own existence to look and see a world without Christ (sheep hurt and harassed without a shepherd) and headed to a lost eternity?

Will we enter into the harvest? Is the compassion of Jesus rooted deep within and compelling us to persuade others to be reconciled to God?

If we do, we will have the joy of hearing others say, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”

At this New Year, let us hear the call of our Saviour and lift up our eyes and look.

The harvest is ready.

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