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How Ripe Is Your Field?

they are ripe    John 4:35

When Jesus ventured into non-friendly territory he encountered a thirsty woman, turned her town upside down, and gave his disciples a wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee lesson. “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” He saw the opportunities, but they saw the obstacles. 

  • One obstacle was their reputation. “What if people see our boss talking to a woman of ill repute?” 
  • Another obstacle was religion. “Why are you wasting time on Samaritans? They are not our target market.” 
  • Their third attempt to ‘get out of Dodge’ was practical: “Why don’t you get something to eat?”

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 

What do you see in your workplace? Is it an environment where people are neutral to spiritual things? Perhaps you see it as disinterested, not caring much about God and all that religious stuff. Do you see your company as hostile to the gospel? The negative words may not be spoken, but the people would prefer that you left God at home.

I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

The disciples saw scant opportunity, but “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him.” Jesus chose to invest even more time with them. “So they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two more days.” What we see as outside our scope is often right in God’s plan. “And because of his words many more became believers.”

Our effectiveness in the marketplace will be driven, in large measure, by our outlook. Ask God to open your eyes to see your workplace as he sees it: unlikely people who are keys to a department or corporation; diverse beliefs that are pointers to true thirst; towns, households, departments, companies that are ripe for change. When Jesus enters the dialogue, things turn ripe quickly.

Reflections

  • What obstacles do you see to the expansion of the kingdom in your workplace? Pray, look again—what opportunities do you see?
  • God knows the answer to every obstacle and what it takes to see his kingdom overcome: ask him for his strategy for your top two obstacles.
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