Are You A Labourer In The Harvest Field?
By David Lindsey
Readers of the Bible have long understood that Christians live in two worlds. Although we have all been born into what the Bible calls “this present world” (Titus 2:12), Christians have also been granted citizenship in heaven. God has granted believers in Christ the right to be children of God (John 1:12) and He has undertaken to keep for us our “inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:4). This promise is not because of what we have done but for the sake of His dear Son, “according to His abundant mercy…by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:3).
For those who are not redeemed by the blood of Jesus this present world is the sole hope for happiness, but the Christian’s hope is in the world to come (1 Cor. 15). For Christians, therefore, hope is central and fear is transitory. But for unbelievers, fear is central and hope is transitory.
The world’s attention is currently occupied by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the trouble facing the world is not limited to this virus. Many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, are suffering directly or indirectly through the turmoil in the world – unemployment, poverty, pollution, sickness, family tension, separation, homelessness, disruption to businesses, persecution, and many other problems. All of this is creating confusion, fear and stress.
The Bible tells us that the events of the end times will cause exactly this kind of confusion, and people will look for a great leader to save them from it. In His dialogue on the end times, Jesus told us that there would be wars, rumours of wars and pestilences, but that when we see these things come to pass, look up, for your redemption draws near (Matt. 24). The end of the world is near, and almost every news headline confirms this.
Christians can face the present time with understanding. Peter encourages us to “rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Pet. 1:6). Rejoice in the midst of grief? Yes! This is the Christian’s proper response because the genuineness of our “faith, being much more precious than gold” is being refined through fires of testing. Why? To “be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:7).
Satan knows his time is short. He is redoubling his efforts to remove Christ’s presence from the world, and he is doing this any way he can. His plans will reach their climax during the seven-year period known as the Great Tribulation, but events are casting their shadow over the world even now.
Satan has managed to shut churches and prevent Christians from meeting together, even in countries where there is little persecution of Christians. What Satan has failed to do through other means, he has succeeded through a worldwide pandemic.
Christians need to stay awake to the biblical message and be aware that this pandemic is a conspiracy from Satan. Sickness and death was never part of God’s original creation but is a consequence of the Fall. Let us not allow this plan of Satan to succeed in removing Christian influence from the world. We are called to be God’s hands, feet and mouth to a lost world that dwells in darkness. The whole world is now a mission field, and the need is urgent!
Perhaps never before has the harvest field been so ripe. The needs are everywhere, and this is our opportunity as Christians to shine as lights before men. As Christ Himself knew, there is a shortage of willing labourers to harvest the bounty, so pray that God will send willing labourers who are prepared to serve others in the midst of their own trial (Matt. 9:37-38).
The hope we have in Christ for the next life should influence how we conduct ourselves in this one. Seeing that these things shall be, “what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (2 Pet. 3:11). The answer from Scripture is absolutely clear: “love one another” (John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Rom. 12:10; 13:8; Gal. 5:13-14; 1 Thes. 4:9; 1 John 3:11; 3:23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1:5).
Here are some thoughts about how we might fulfill this command:
1. Look not on our own things but also on the things of others (Phil. 2:4). Retreating into our homes to wait out the crisis until it passes is not a biblical idea. Serving others can and needs to be done safely, but separating ourselves from the world to preserve ourselves and our wealth is not an action with scriptural support. We are not called to protect our own interests or hoard our possessions. Instead, we are commanded to store up “treasure in heaven” by which Christ meant hold the things of this world with a loose grip, give to those more needy than ourselves, and follow Him (Matt. 19:21).
2. Forsake not the meeting of ourselves together (Heb. 10:24-25). Doing this online is good, but once restrictions are lifted in your area make sure you avail yourselves of every opportunity to meet face to face. God created humans for spiritual fellowship, not just with Him (though of course with Him chiefly), but also with other Christians. No one can live the Christian life to the fullest on their own. God extends special grace to those who are deprived of the ability to meet, but if we willingly deprive ourselves of fellowship with other Spirit-filled believers, we cannot expect a healthy spiritual life. Yet, biblically speaking, the command to meet together goes deeper than this. We are not just created for fellowship, but for community. We are not just created to meet with other Christians but to share in each other’s lives, to help each other, to bear each other’s burdens, and to encourage each other. The implication of community is that it provides opportunities for service, both to each other and to the world around us. A properly functioning community allows us to develop ourselves as individuals, to worship God in fellowship with others, and also to serve the world around us together.
3. Have your conversation honest among the Gentiles (1 Pet. 2:12). To take the name of Christ is to “fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Prov. 3:7), “laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings” (1 Pet. 2:1). If we depart from holy personal conduct, our testimony will be weakened and Christ’s name will be dishonoured.
4. Learn to love God and each other fervently, genuinely, and in truth, for that is the whole of the law. And after having “purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently…” (1 Pet. 1:22). For if we do these things, our testimony to those who yet sit in darkness will be neither barren nor unfruitful (2 Pet. 1:8).
If we do these things believing in God’s love and trusting in His provision, we will be obeying Christ and placing ourselves in a position where He can prosper our service for Him. Christ could return at any time – let us be busy about our Father’s business!
“By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:35).
– David Lindsey is a longtime reader and supporter of Herald of His Coming from New Zealand. He has a passion for holiness, intimacy with Christ and cultural engagement.