Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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April 25 – Rejoicing Together In The Harvest

“Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’  But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought Him something to eat?’  Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.  Do you not say, “There are yet four months, then comes the harvest”? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.  Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.  For here the saying holds true, One sows and another reaps.'” John 4:31-37

Devotional Thought For The Day

I’ve always been intrigued by this statement of Jesus. Hunger and loss of energy is often debilitating, rendering a person incapable of functioning at a high level or even going on with any work at all. The same could be said of all manner of physical ailments and maladies. However, I’ve also noticed many times when people are able to go on and on with some “work of God” when they should have dropped with famishment or exhaustion. What is the explanation?  Is it that the human body is far more capable and resourceful than we give it credit for, or is it true that when one’s “food” is doing the will of God then God provides the necessary nourishment and sustenance perhaps even supernaturally?  Jesus was not explicit in explaining His ability to continue working even without the normal nurture and sustenance of food, but His encouragement of the disciples indicates that God will provide what we need to continue doing His will.

The clear point is that entering into the work of the heavenly harvest [including all that we do in life for others] is far more important and blessed even than eating. There are not many things in life more important than taking in enough nourishment – perhaps breathing, heartbeat, sleeping, or thinking.  All of these things, however, require the energy provided with the ingestion of food.  So, thankfully there are very few times when we must forego eating and drinking – but when circumstances are such that God’s work needs to be done and we have no time for nourishment, God will provide us with the energy and strength that we need. I would reckon that most pastors have experienced this from time to time in their work of ministry – when they felt all resources were exhausted yet important tasks were at hand, and they simply pray God to bless their work and get them through, and without natural explanation they do extraordinary things.

Part of pastoral burnout – and also burnout of faithful disciples – is our lack of understanding the seasonal nature of the work of the heavenly harvest.  We forget that we may be laboring “yet four months” before the harvest. We are sowing, planting, watering, and fertilizing – but we do not see much evidence of the harvest. Others who are “reaping” may forget the “sowing” done before they came, and wickedly ascribe the fruitfulness to their labor alone. It is actually God Who causes all growth and harvesting, not the laborers. But in the end it is as Jesus proclaimed: “sower and reaper rejoice together.” And so it should be – that they rejoice that they were privileged to participate in some way in the accomplishment of God’s work and will.

So let us not grow weary or faint – even when we labor without benefit of proper nourishment.  God is watching out for us and He is able to nourish, sustain, and heal us so that we may accomplish those “good works which He has foreordained that we should be walking in them.” [Eph. 2:10] Let us not grow pessimistic or depressed when we cannot see the fruit of our labors – the Lord remains the Lord of the harvest.  He will invite us to rejoice with Him and with those who reap at the proper time. Let us instead have the vision of Jesus, His scope, His priorities, His faith, and His zeal for the Father’s work.  Our time of rest is coming in the joy of our Master, in due time, in His time.  In the meantime, let us still work “while it is yet day,” for “the night comes when no man can work.” [Jn. 9:4] The rest we leave in God’s powerful, good, and gracious hands!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, help us to have faith in Your promises and confidence in the resources that You are able to provide for us, as we continue doing the will and work of our heavenly Father. Keep us from all discouragement and weak resignation. Help us to understand that our work in You is never in vain, and to remember the joy of the harvest to come. Amen.