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Do not wait to turn to Christ because we do not have as much time as you might think

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Ron HemphillJohn 4:35 - Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

I walked out to my truck the other morning to get ready to head out to the office and to my surprise, there was the proverbial "frost on the pumpkin," so I was digging for my ice scraper.

The fall of the year is such an enjoyable time for me. I love to see the changing colors of the leaves, the garden — if you have one — is being harvested.  And of course, the annual harvest party at the indoor arena is being planned.

But Jesus wasn't really talking about any of those things. He was talking about a harvest of souls. Far too often, we look ahead and think we have plenty of time — we don't need to make any decisions for Christ now.

But it amazes me how we can look into the mirror one day and see a young man still planning his career and the next day wondering about his retirement. Ladies don't get offended at me for using this analogy when in truth it includes you as well. I just know you don't like being considered OLD. 

None of us really know how much time we've got. Me personally, I don't feel old. I still feel like I'm 29. If you know me then you know me! I act like I'm 29, then usually pay for it within the next two days.

We read in Hebrew 9:27 it is appointed once unto man to die and after that, the judgement. But there will be a generation that is alive when Jesus returns for his Church. I know some of you will disagree with me on this, but that's OK too. I do believe the return of Christ is immenent and I believe I am in that generation when He returns. If I'm wrong that's OK too. I would rather live my whole life believing in Jesus and be wrong , than not believing in Jesus and then at the end of my days find out I was wrong! The same with His return — I know there are several different eschatologies about the return of Christ, but as for me, I try to live my life as if He is returning at any moment.

So what exactly was Christ talking about in the verse?  He was telling the disciple now is the time to work. Don't wait. If you leave the crop in the ground too long, it begins to rot. Listen, I know certain crops you can leave longer than others, but sooner or later they rot or go to seed.

In Matthew 9:37, we read that the harvest is truly plenteous, so pray for laborers. Again, I believe this is what Jesus was referring to in John 4. In church statistics, typically 10% of the people do 90% of the work. That was true then and it is true today. So, Jesus encourages the disciple to take note of eternity and the winning of lost souls.

I believe the whole task of the Church can be summed up in just two points. One, win the lost and two, strengthen the brethren. Within these two areas we do the rest of our works. And we all do it just a little differently, but at the end of the day, we serve the same Lord and we are going to the same Heaven.

Paul in his first epistle to the church in Corinth (I Cor 9: 22b) says I am made all things to all men that by all means I might save some." I Cor 3:6 again Paul writing here says one plants and another waters, BUT GOD gives the increase. We are not "gun slingers"carving another notch on our Bibles about how many people we have won to the Lord. No we are all working together.

In my life, I have personally prayed with many people to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but I wonder who came before me and planted the seed, pulled a few weeds out of their lives or poured a little water on them to cause the seed to grow. Yes the harvest is great, and NOW, not another day, NOW is the time to get busy.

Ron Hemphill is the pastor at New Life Bible Chapel. He can be reached at 541-447-6543.

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