The challenge from Jesus at the start of this passage is tinged with sadness. Just imagine a farmer looking over the fruit of his labour as a great harvest is due, only to realise that he does not have enough people to help him bring it in. Jesus’ challenge to the early disciples has been a rallying cry for churches ever since, and is the call to the Christians of Yateley today. As many local folk come to Church – indoors and outdoors – over Christmas to celebrate a true story of joy for all mankind, God sees this harvest with great expectation as he knows the hearts of all who come and sees their need for His Love and true Forgiveness through Jesus. Imagine God’s disappointment next year when many who came close have drifted off and are not yet in His ‘Harvest Home’.
As we ponder this awesome truth – that God has called us to help with the harvest of souls – we probably feel rather chastened (I certainly do) at our many failures to witness effectively. As we ponder on the magnitude of the task Jesus reminds us that true witness is not a matter of ‘being religious’ but in acting out true love and compassion in a practical way on the road to Jericho.
The Extra Mile
The Samaritan in this great parable did not just drop a coin in the lap of the half-dead man at the side of the road, or just dial 999 and walk on letting the NHS pick up the problem. He administered some basic first aid and then took the guy to a nearby Holiday Inn and left credit with reception for his board and lodging for a few days at least.
There are always opportunities to be kind to others like this as we go about our daily lives. Perhaps a small Christmas gift to someone who has few presents might make all the difference, or a hot meal on a dreary, cold day in January, or a friendly word with someone at work or school who seems to be going through a bad time.
Dear Lord, please enable me to help with the harvest and give me the eyes to see and the ears to hear the needs of those I meet day by day – whether friends, family or strangers – and then the strength of mind to respond and do something practical to help. AMEN