It’s hard to think about sowing and reaping in the middle of winter, but right now is the perfect time to stop and take stock. When you curl up by the fireplace and while the snow blankets the fields, it’s time to plan for next fall’s harvest and prepare for springtime storms and brutal summer heat. Though it’s cold and sometimes dark, this season between harvesting and planting offers rest from hard labor, an opportunity to evaluate life, and a time to renew our focus before we begin the next season of the work God has given us to do.
Many of us take time in January to reflect over the past year—to consider our goals and direction, what changes to make, ways to simplify our households and streamline activities, how to strengthen our commitments, and how to sharpen our focus. In this month’s feature article, Dr. Henry Morris III talks about “the mindset of the Christian laborer” and how we are challenged to “do business” until the Lord returns (“Sowing and Reaping”). We’re reminded of the urgency of our work: “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35).
Now is the time to “lift up your eyes and look.” Jesus challenged His followers to see the needs of those around them now, not four months from now. He urged them to see the needs of a fallen culture and to share the truths of God’s Word with the people in their “white fields.” Our Lord wants us to feel the same urgency for those around us today. Do they know Christ? Have we become complacent about the souls of the people in our lives?
He wants us not only to see the harvest, but ultimately to go through life with our eyes on Him. Jesus’ lesson to His disciples began with the words “lift up your eyes.” It’s like a mother saying to her toddler “Now, look at me…” before she gives instructions. Or a teacher who says “All eyes up here, please” before she assigns homework. Likewise, with us, God knows He has to get our full attention before He gives the instruction to “look.” The cares of the world can keep our eyes distracted by issues that don’t matter.
He is our example, the One who “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). He pushed through the challenges and trials, staying focused on the reward—and so should we. We depend on Him for our daily needs, our moment-by-moment direction, and help with our work. We trust Him with the results of our service and rely on Him with every step (Psalm 123:2).
Any day is a good time to renew the commitment to continue “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). As we evaluate where we are and where we’re going, let’s lift up our eyes anew to see a harvest ripe for reaping, labor faithfully in the work we’ve been given, and fix our gaze on Him.
* Jayme Durant is Director of Communications at the Institute for Creation Research.