John 4: 35, 38 Let us speak about the nature of the harvest. First it is spiritual, Jesus said “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.” (Jh.12:32) To see the temporal harvest you look down and around. To see the spiritual harvest one must look up. The spiritual harvest concerns the spiritual nature and interest of all mankind.
A mans heart must be changed for him to walk in the path of holiness “ But according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:5)
It is the harvest of souls-the harvest of Jesus’ souls. This harvest is spiritual in its processes, in its height, in its aim, in its spiritual quickening, in its growth and its cultivation and its ripening of souls.
Think not that this world is only for material and physical purpose. The chief end of this world is the production of holy and perfect souls.
“That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, with out rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among which ye shine as lights in the world.” (Phil. 2:15) Let us speak about the operation of the harvest. There are preparatory operations. Note what John the Baptist said to the Pharisees and Sadducees “Bring forth therefore fruits meek for repentance.”(Mt.3:8) As in the material harvest, so in the spiritual harvest, the soil of the soul is sloughed and cultivated, by warnings, by judgment and mercy, by divine threatening and promises, and by the seed of the Divine Word which is sown with much prayerfulness and tears, and then left in hope and anxiety.
There are the secret divine operation. Once the seed is deposited carefully in the soil, we can do nothing more but hope, watch, and trust. It is now in the hand of God, and only God can make it grow. We must leave our work to the secret and quickening operations of the Holy Spirit, “ Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:” (Jh.16:13) There are the subsequent Divine and human operation. As soon as the seed begins to bud in repentance and faith, and grow in grace, it is at once, to some extent, under human discipline and supervision, The apostle Peter said to the elders of the church, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the over sight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthly lucre, but of a ready mind.” (I.Pt.5:2)
The Divine and human operation join in its development and progress. Let us speak about the vastness of the harvest. The space of the harvest is the whole earth. The field is the world. But there are fields “Look on the fields” Jh.4:35 The whole earth is the Lord’s farm, and the harvest covers it all, but it is well for the purpose of spiritual cultivation that it is divided into fields. The labour and vastness are distributed so as to suit finite comprehension and energy.
Through the parts the whole will be reached “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. For the body is not one member, but many.” I.Cor.12:13,14) Field after field will be cultivated till the whole earth be covered with waving corn fit for harvest “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nation; and then shall the end come.” (Mt. 24:14) Vast in relation to time.
It reaches from the moment of the “day of grace” to the last, and in results stretch forward to the endless eternity. Men have a series of harvest, but Jesus has only one great harvest, embracing all time and ages. Vast in relation to the labour and agencies employed. These embrace all divine, human, and angelic agencies from the first sower to the last reaper. Abel, Paul, you and I work in the same harvest and it all belongs to Jesus. Let us note the ripeness of the harvest. “Look on the fields; for they are white,” Whiteness is the colour of ripeness, the colour of ripen cotton. It is the colour of heaven “And they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (Rev.3:4)
All is white in heaven, for all is rip and perfect. No tears, no death, no sorrow, no crying, and no pain. Souls are ripe to harvest when they begin to manifest a genuine concern for their spiritual welfare. Remember Cornelius sent for Peter “he sent them to Joppa.” (Acts 10:8) As in the natural harvest, so in the spiritual, some fields ripen more quickly than others. As in soils, so in soul, some bring forth fruit sooner than others.
This was the case now in Samaria as compared with Judaea and even Galilee, and it is ever so “ and many of the Samaritans Of that city believed on him.” (Jh.4:39) We are entirely dependent on the appointed season of the harvest. We cannot by any effort make it come a day sooner “ Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry until ye be endured with power from on high.” (Lk.24:49)